Lounging in the balcony on a chair with a cup of tea is one of the luxuries life has to offer to many city dwellers during the Covid-19 crisis, when lounging outside is not the safest of options. However, bugs such as mosquitos, flies, ants and small spiders can turn this moment of bliss into a living nightmare. And in warmer climates like in Bangladesh, bugs thrive the best and can infest in no time.
Getting rid of the bugs is a must, but there is no need to resort to industrial-strength, chemically doused insecticides. Switch to the five bug-repelling plants instead that can ward off pesky bugs and give your balcony a spruce of green at the same time, if placed strategically.
1. Citronella grass
Citronella grass, or lemongrass, is one of the most effective natural insecticides due to the slightly citrus scented oil found in the plant. Citronella grass needs a lot of sun, making it a perfect plant for the Bangladeshi weather. Place it in a pot on the farthest end of your balcony for maximum effect.
The peppery scent of mint helps repel biting insects of all kinds. Peppermint oil is even used in many industry-grade insecticides for its powerful bug-repelling properties. It's best to plant mint in pots because it will overflow and spread everywhere, and crowd over other neighbouring plants.
These sun-loving plants contain pyrethrum - an insecticidal compound used in bug repellents. Marigold plants keep bugs at bay as they give off an airborne substance called limonene that protects against flies, mosquitoes and aphids. Place potted marigolds near common entryways like doors and windows. You can also use them to create a border around the exterior of your balcony.
Basil produces a repellent odour that can kill mosquito eggs and fend off other bugs. In essential oil form, it works even better. Plant basil in pots and set along the front of your balcony to keep away mosquitoes.
Chives, onions, garlic, scallions and shallots fall into this group. They grow tall with purple, white, or pink flowers and contain a compound called lectins that helps to protect other plants from slugs, flies and worms. Although, alliums can attract moths. Be warned that allium plants can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Hence, keep the potted allium plants away from your beloved pet's reach.