Lemon balm is a natural bug repellent.
It contains high levels of a compound called citronellal, which gives it its lemony aroma and flavor that bugs find so unpleasant. You’ll notice that “citronellal” sounds a lot like “citronella,” another plant used in many bug repellent sprays, lotions and candles.
But why shell out money for one of these products that almost always contain other, potentially questionable or downright toxic ingredients? You can just plant a cheap little lemon balm plant (mine cost $2.99) and you’ll have a near-endless supply of bug repellent just sitting in your yard, ready whenever you need it!
How to Use Lemon Balm
Crush the fresh leaves and rub them directly on your skin, especially around the ankles, arms and other areas most exposed and vulnerable to bug bites. The lemon scent, which repels the bugs, is very strong. It rubs off very well onto skin. You can just sort of crush the leaf up a bit, and then use the leaf like a wipe.
How and Where to Grow Lemon Balm:
Plant the lemon balm outside, perhaps near your front or back door, or on your deck, patio or wherever else you often sit outside, as the plants will help ward off bugs in those areas.
Lemon balm happily thrives in sun or partial shade, and should be kept in moist, well-drained soil. Keep in mind though that, like other mints, lemon balm is invasive, and it will spread and take over your garden like a weed if you let it. For that reason, it’s best to keep it contained in a pot.
Read 5 more plants that repels mosquitoes: 6 Herbs That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes and Fleas