20 Plants That Naturally Repel Fleas and Other Insects

20 Plants That Naturally Repel Fleas and Other Insects

Summer is over, but that does not mean that you and your pets are free from fleas and other insects. If you are living in one of the countries with an all-year round flea or insect problem, then read on – I have some important information for you. In this guide, we will discuss some of the most effective flea repelling plants. The good news regarding this is that many of the plants not only repel fleas, they are also effective on mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and other household and garden pests.

Before we delve into my list of the top 20 flea repelling plants, let us discuss the history of botanical pesticides.

History of botanical flea and bug repellents

Way before synthetic bug repellents were formulated for controlling indoor and outdoor pests, the earliest pesticides used in farms were developed at home by farmers and home plant growers. As early as the mid-1900s, botanical insecticides like these effectively helped control bugs and insects. Today, these same plants are also grown commercially to produce botanical insecticides.

Which flea repelling plants can you grow at home?

A small herb or plant garden growing outside your kitchen can give you so much delight; additionally, it can also help you treat a variety of health ailments, season your food, and deter and repel bugs and pests from your pets and plants. This way, you can stay away from harmful flea treatment products that may negatively effect you, your pets or the environment.

Insect and flea repelling plants mainly contain compounds and chemicals that fall under different categories like Repellents, Deterrents, Toxins and Growth regulators. These can be further grouped into Nitrogen compounds/Alkaloids, Terpenoids, Phenolics and Proteinase inhibitors.

Here are the top 20 insect and flea repelling plants

  1. Thyme– Number one on my list of flea repelling plants is thyme. Grow thyme in an area that is shaded and well away from the strong midday sun. Thyme leaves can help repel fleas and many other pests that are bothering you indoors as well as outdoors.
  2. Neem– The neem tree has been used for centuries in India to treat microbial infections as well as for repelling fleas, bugs and mosquitoes. The scientific name for Neem is Azardirachta Indica. The leaves of neem are usually boiled and made into an extract that can be used for bathing the pets as an after-shampoo-rinse. This helps deter fleas and also takes care of fungal or bacterial skin infections. The Azadirachtin compound in Neem leaves repel larvae, eggs and adult fleas. Dried Neem leaves can also be burnt to create a smoke for repelling bugs in the garden.
  3. Sage/Salvia– Many sub-species of Salvia plant are used for botanical insecticidal control. These include Red Sage, S. Hydrangea, S. Santolinifolia and S. Mirzayanii, all of which are known for their anti-microbial and pesticidal activity. The active ingredient in Salvia Splendens or Red Sage is toxic to fleas, rats and other pests at high doses. Salvia officinalis has shown flea and mosquito larval toxicity as well.
  4. Pyrethrum– Pyrethrum plant extracts are used in shampoos, sprays and lotions for flea repellence. Use only as per the guidance of a vet.
  5. Lemon Eucalyptus– The lemon eucalyptus or Corymbia citriodora (Myrtaceae) gives essential oil known as Citronellal. Traditional Chinese medicine has always used this essential oil for medicinal purpose, as well as for repelling mosquitoes and other bugs. Its plant extracts and oils are used in lotions, sprays and shampoos for repelling fleas in pets.
  6. Clove– Also known as Eugenia caryophyllus, Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia aromatiu, clove essential oil is used in cosmetics, in toothpaste manufacturing and also for flea and mosquito repellence in form of sprays and shampoos.
  7. Basil– 100% essential oil of basil leaves can be applied topically to deter mosquitoes, fleas and other bugs. The leaves also thermally expel compounds in the air that can keep your home and garden free of insects. Basil is very easy to plant in a pot which can be placed indoors for instance in your kitchen window.
  8. Lavender– This very pretty plant is tall and spiky with purple flowers. The scent of lavender flowers make a great addition to any home garden and also deters beetles, aphids and spider mites.
  9. Bushmint/wildhops– A field study conducted on the leaves of bushmint plant consisted of smoldering the leaves on charcoal. This provided protection against mosquitoes and fleas for at least 2 hours. Fresh leaves of the herb placed in a room can also repel fleas and other bugs.
  10. Garlic– Garlic is a natural antimicrobial and is used for planting beneath many kinds of flowering plants to protect them from being devoured by garden insects.
  11. Patchouli– Used mainly in Chinese medicine, 100% essential oil obtained from the Pachouli plant can give protection against all kinds of bugs, especially through topical application.
  12. Rose Germanium– A laboratory study has proven the efficacy of topically applied extracts of alcohol obtained from the Rose germanium plant. This gives protection against fleas and other bugs for over 3 hours. Roses should always be planted with garlic growing underneath.
  13. MugWort/St. John’s Wort or Wormwood– A. vulgaris or Mugwort plant gives out camphor-like extracts that can repel fleas and other household insects for more than 5 hours.
  14. Mint and Peppermint– Essentials oils give 100% protection against flea and mosquito bites. These can be planted indoors and outdoors for deterring insects and bugs.
  15. Turmeric– Leaves and extracts obtained from different parts of turmeric plant can be combined with 5% vanillin for topical application against fleas and mosquitoes.
  16. Marigolds– Marigold extracts, also called Calendula, deter cutworms and fruit flies.
  17. Rosemary– A natural aphid and flea repellent, rosemary essential oil has found its way in many cosmetic and medicinal products for repelling fleas, ticks etc from pets.
  18. Green beans– If you have a vegetable garden, make sure you plant green beans to repel cutworms.
  19. Oak– Oak leaves are often mulched by landscapers to be placed near herbs and vegetable gardens to repel worms, bugs and other plant-eating insects.
  20. Catnip– As far as flea repelling plants are concerned, Catnips have been proven even more effective than DEET. Crush and rub some catnip on your cat’s skin (or allow the animal to roll in some catnip bushes) to deter fleas naturally. Catnip can be also used for repelling cockroaches.
This concludes my list of the top 20 flea repelling plants. Many of these small plants can be placed around the rooms of your home for natural room freshening purposes apart from deterring fleas and other household bugs. If you want some of the flea repelling plants I mentioned above in your own home, you can get the plants, seeds and bulbs on Amazon.

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Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous Definition And The List Of Cruciferous Vegetables

The cruciferous family of vegetables have generated a lot of interest in the health world due to their cancer fighting compounds. This leads many gardeners to wonder what are cruciferous vegetables and can I grow them in my garden. Good news! You probably already grow at least one (and likely several) types of cruciferous veggies.

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

Broadly, cruciferous vegetables belong to the Cruciferae family, which mostly contains the Brassica genus, but does include a few other genuses. In general, cruciferous vegetables are cool weather vegetables and have flowers that have four petals so that they resemble a cross.

In most cases, the leaves or flower buds of cruciferous vegetables are eaten, but there are a few where either the roots or seeds are also eaten.

Because these vegetables belong to the same family, they tend to be susceptible to the same diseases and pests. Cruciferous vegetable diseases can include:

Cruciferous vegetable pests can include:

Because the cruciferous family of vegetables are susceptible to the same diseases and pests, it’s best to make sure that you rotate the location of all cruciferous vegetables in your garden each year. In other words, don’t plant a cruciferous vegetable where a cruciferous vegetable was planted last year. This will help to protect them from diseases and pests that can overwinter in the soil.

Complete List of Cruciferous Vegetables

Below you will find a list of cruciferous vegetables. While you may not have heard the term cruciferous vegetable before, it’s likely that you have grown many of them in your garden. They include:

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Lower-Dose Tamoxifen Works As Well As High-Dose

Now, new research shows that a lower dose of the hormone therapy helped prevent breast cancer from returning and guarded against new cancers in women who had high-risk breast tissue.

On top of that, the lower dose — just 5 milligrams daily — came with fewer troubling side effects.

«Low-dose tamoxifen is as effective as the standard dose,» said study author Dr. Andrea De Censi. He is director of the medical oncology unit at the National Hospital E.O. Ospedali Galliera — S.C. Oncologia Medica in Genoa, Italy.

De Censi said the rate of side effects — such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse and muscle pain — was similar to the rate that occurred with a placebo pill. The side effect rate for the low-dose therapy was significantly less than what previous research has shown with the standard 20 milligram (mg) dose of tamoxifen, he noted.

In addition, the risk of serious side effects, such as blood clots and endometrial cancer, were similar to that of the placebo, and less than what typically occurs with the 20 mg dose, De Censi said.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer interferes with the growth of cancer cells in a few ways. One is by blocking the body from producing certain hormones. Another is by disrupting the effects of certain hormones on cancer cells, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the case of tamoxifen, it works by binding to estrogen-receptors. Some cancers — those called estrogen-receptor positive — are fueled by estrogen. Tamoxifen blocks the estrogen-receptors on cancer cells, keeping them from getting the fuel they need to grow.

De Censi said he was interested in doing the study because the minimum effective dose of tamoxifen hadn’t been researched.

The drug was developed in the late 1960s, he said, and at the time researchers weren’t looking for the minimum effective dose because prevention was the key issue. However, above a certain dose, tamoxifen won’t produce any extra benefit, but it will raise the risk of side effects, De Censi said.


The new study included 500 women. They all had either stage 0 breast cancer (called DCIS) or high-risk lesions in their breast tissue that could develop into breast cancer.

Half of the women took 5 milligrams of tamoxifen daily for three years. The other half took a placebo. The average follow-up time was five years.

By that time, 5.5 percent of the women taking tamoxifen and about 11 percent of the women taking a placebo had a breast cancer recurrence or a new cancer.

Taking low-dose tamoxifen lowered the risk of recurrent or new breast cancer by 52 percent, the researchers reported. And the rates of side effects were similar between the two groups.

About 35 percent of women in the tamoxifen group (and 39 percent in the placebo group) stopped treatment before the study was done. De Censi said if they had continued, it’s possible that the low dose of tamoxifen would have proven even more effective.

Dr. Douglas Marks is a clinical instructor in the oncology/hematology department at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He said the findings were impressive, and low-dose tamoxifen is a «very worthy idea to be explored.»

But, Marks added, the study doesn’t have data for a long enough time period. He said he’d like to see 15 years of follow-up. And the study really needs to compare the 5 mg dose to the standard 20 mg dose to see if it’s just as effective.

«Different strategies should be evaluated in hormonal therapy,» Marks said.

However, women need to know that the current prevention strategies are very effective, he said. If you’re taking one of these therapies, talk with your doctor if you’re having trouble with side effects, he added.

«Before you stop taking a medication, let your doctor know about your side effects. There are a lot of strategies to deal with side effects. Even if you’re between appointments, call your doctor to talk about it,» Marks advised.


How to Keep Fleas and Ticks Out of Your Home

Like any pet owner, you want to keep fleas and ticks from bothering your pet and moving in to your home.

Infestations can take weeks or months to control. But by taking some precautions, you can prevent them from starting in the first place.

These four steps can help you make your home less inviting to these little bloodsuckers. Some of them start even before you walk through the front door.

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1. Troubleshoot Your Yard.

The first line of defense is keeping fleas and ticks from setting up housekeeping on your property.

If you live in a home with a yard, that means keeping your grass mowed and shrubs trimmed back. This simple landscaping move is the opposite of curb appeal to fleas and ticks, because they have less place to hide.

Next, discourage feral pets and wildlife from coming into your yard and bringing their fleas with them. Opossums, raccoons, and feral cats are the worst offenders. Don’t invite these critters by leaving bowls of dog or cat food outside.

Trim back any trees and high shrubs that could let wild animals crawl into your attic. Seal off any openings to crawl spaces, garages, sheds, or under decks, where wild animals or stray dogs or cats could nest, says, Michael K. Rust, PhD, a professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside.

When planting shrubs, keep them away from your house and each other. “Any time you have air movement and sunlight it will kill flea larvae,” Rust says.

You can also find effective yard flea sprays at your local hardware store.

2. Practice Prevention.

Many pet owners use spot-on flea and tick treatments on their pets.

When they come home, run a flea comb or brush through your pet’s coat before going inside, reducing the number of pests it carries.

Do you have a long-haired pet? It’s easier for pests to hide there. So consider having your pet shaved down for the summer, making it easier to spot problems.

3. Keep Your Home Clean.

Having fleas and ticks in your house doesn’t mean your home is dirty. But if you pay careful attention to certain areas, you can make pests less welcome. The tree stages of immature fleas (flea eggs, larvae, and pupae) often live in carpeting or throw rugs. So vacuum at least once a week, and more often if you spot fleas.


When you vacuum, don’t just cover the center of the room. Fleas avoid high-traffic areas, so be sure to hit baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend time. This can eliminate 30% of larvae and 60% of flea eggs, according to the AgriLife Extension Service of Texas A&M University.

Change vacuum bags frequently, or place a flea collar in the bag to kill emerging fleas. If your pet rides in your car, vacuum your car, too.

Also wash your pet’s bedding, crate, and toys in hot water weekly to kill flea eggs and larvae.

3. Treat and Prevent Infestations.

Thanks to effective flea and tick control products you can use on your pets, infestations in your home are much less common today.

If fleas do invade, take steps to rid them from your home and keep them away. First, vacuum your carpets thoroughly. After vacuuming, dispose of the bag immediately because eggs and larvae will continue to develop in the bag. Next, shampoo or steam clean the carpet to remove additional fleas and larvae. If you choose to use an insecticide in your home, cleaning the carpets first allows the product to go deeper into the carpet.

To prevent infestations from getting a foothold, Mike Merchant, PhD, a professor and extension urban entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, recommends using diatomaceous earth (DE).

This fine, talc-like powder comes from ancient marine plankton and dries out fleas at all stages. Use only food-grade DE, which is available at some hardware or seed stores, and online. It’s considered nontoxic and safe for pets and children. But when spreading it, take care not to inhale it because it could damage your lungs if you breathed in too much.

Merchant recommends sprinkling the dust under furniture cushions, along baseboards, in pet beds, and brushing it into the cracks in hardwood floors.

Another alternative is an insect growth regulator, or IGR. These products make adult fleas sterile, kill larvae, and cause eggs not to hatch. It is available as a pill from your veterinarian. There also are IGR sprays, dips, spot-on products, and collars with methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Some can last 6 months or more, helping prevent infestations but how long it lasts depends on the form you choose. Ask your vet which is best for you.


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