With the warmer weather, come the bugs. Some articles on the Internet claim that having certain plants will help keep the bugs away. I asked an expert if this was more fact or fiction.
Amy Grandpre is an urban horticulturist for Yellowstone County Extension Service. She says that the essential oils in the plants are what keep the bugs away... but the essential oils aren't released until the plant is crushed.
Grandpre says, "The research has gone so far as to say, 'yes, these plants do work, but it's the essential oils that they have.' So, it's not so much the plant. But, the plants could help to repel a little bit. But, they are going to be more effective if they are crushed or if you were to make a product from the crushed leaves that would pull and draw the essential oils so that you would have that available."
Grandpre says that there is some exciting research that the crushed plants do actually work.
She says, "The real exciting one is lemon thyme. And, the lemon thyme will get up to 62% the effect of DEET if it is crushed, but it is not just basically having a plant in your yard. They really don't do that much if they aren't crushed."
There are some other things that will help prevent those creepy crawlies from bugging you. Grandpre says, first of all, eliminate any standing water to help prevent mosquitoes. Next, protect your body by using a spray, whether organic or chemical.
Grandpre also recommends tucking your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your leg. And, she says, wear light-colored coloring when you are out in the woods. That way, bugs like ticks are easier to spot if they do get on you.