With Summer looming in the distance (or already there depending on where you live), dreams of sitting on your patio or outside, enjoying the weather come to mind, right? The sun, the warmth and…. the pesky bugs. Unfortunately, those come hand in hand with summer. While you might be tempted to resort to products, sprays and pesticides to get rid of them, there are more “natural” and non-toxic ways to repel the intruders! And since many people are amid planning their gardens and landscapes, now is a great time to look at plants that could help you!

1. Petunias
These bright-colored beauties are often planted to repel squash bugs, beetles and aphids. They need a sunny spot, so try to plant them near your vegetable garden or in a window box.

2. Basil
There’s an oil in basil that kills mosquito eggs. Plant basil in pots near gathering areas to ward off flies and mosquitoes, and to use in pesto! Useful and delicious!

3. Marigolds
These pretty, sun-loving plants are often used by farmers to keep pests at bay. They’ll help keep mosquitoes and aphids out of your yard.

4. Lavender
The same scent that ails our insomnia and makes our linens smell amazing is absolutely disgusting to flies, moths and mosquitoes. Plant it if you have a sunny garden or keep a few bouquets around to ward off the pests.

5. Rosemary
In addition to repelling mosquitoes, potent rosemary will help protect your vegetable plants from infestation.

6. Mint
This pleasant-smelling plant (along with its cousin lemon balm) helps repel biting insects. It’s best to plant mint in pots, because it will spread like crazy.

7. Catnip
Also a member of the mint family, catnip repels bugs thanks to its nepetalactone—the same property that attracts cats. Go figure!

8. Chrysanthemums
Pyrethrin, a compound that’s found in chrysanthemums and used in many commercial insect repellents, keeps mosquitoes, roaches, beetles, ticks and silverfish away.

9. Alliums
Chives, leeks, onions, garlic, scallions and shallots fall into this group. They grow tall with pretty purple, white or pink flowers and help protect other veggies (and your yard) against slugs, flies and worms, although they can attract moths. Be warned that, like garlic and onions, allium plants can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

10. Lemongrass
Citronella is the oil found in lemongrass (thus its slightly citrus-y scent). Lemongrass needs tons of sun, so most of us will have to enjoy it as an annual in the summer.

• Remove any standing water, which is an instant breeding ground for bugs. Check bird baths and buckets!
• Keep food covered when eating outdoors
• Keep trash and recycling covered, and far away from where you’ll be hanging out outside
• Cucumber slices and chalk are known to be effective ant repellents
• Make citronella diffusers using essential oils and beeswax