Some common plants can ward off mosquitoes, reduce West Nile threat

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by TINA FOSTER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM

DALLAS -- We've all heard the warnings about West Nile virus -- cities are spraying to prevent the spread of the disease.

But, what many don't know is the type of plants you put in your yard or on your patio could also help keep mosquitoes at bay.

Experts say lemongrass, lavender, and citronella are good choices.

"One of our best performers is the citronella plant, which is this plant right here and if you feel it, it has kinda a waxy touch to it," Marc Funderburk of Land Patterns Landscaping said. "[That's] because it produces a lot of oil, and that is one thing that mosquitoes don't like."

Another thing mosquitoes don't like are strong smells. That's why plants typically found in a herb garden, like basil, thyme, and rosemary deter mosquitoes. So does peppermint.

"If you have a garden that you want to have that smell of mint, not only will it repel the insects, it will make the garden smell [pleasant,]" Funderburk said.

Experts caution that plants are only a low-cost extra tool in the fight against mosquitoes. The best defense is to always remove standing water, use insect repellent, wear light clothing, and avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk.

And, if you do use plants to help ward off mosquitoes, be sure to plant or place them where you spend the most time outdoors.

"It needs to be where the people are going to be," Funderburk said. "Start with four or five [plants] and if you have multiple areas where people go in the gardens, you just multiply that."

The plants mentioned are perfect for the hot Texas climate, can be found at most nurseries, and cost the same as most other plants typically found in your garden.

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