Bay leaves and bugs

– Mint leaves. Did you know that an ant can carry up to 50 times its own weight? Oh yeah, they can totally carry crushed mint leaves too. The thinking here is that the ants object to the mint’s scent compounds…but maybe mine wanted to make mojitos in their little ant colony? I don’t know.
– Cayenne pepper. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper is an irritant to ants, making them stay away. So, I sprinkled cayenne pepper around a particularly active spot near the floorboards. This worked for a day, but then Roscoe (my cat) tried to “clean up” the pepper. I had to stop this little experiment.
– Baby powder. The cornstarch in baby powder (I generally don’t buy the kind that contain talc) is another irritant to ants. Like the cayenne pepper, I sprinkled it around a particularly active area and waited. The ants did appear to go away, but at least two guests had thought I had spilled flour and tried to helpfully sweep it up.
– Cornmeal. This is going to sound a bit gruesome: Cornmeal makes ants explode. They take the grains home, eat them and then presumably drink some water. The grains expand inside the ant, and then boom, tiny fireworks. Did I see this happen? No. There was remarkably less cornmeal by the end of the first day, but the ants kept returning to bring home more cornmeal. I had effectively made an ant feeding trough. Forget this idea.
– Cinnamon. The ants walked around any area that had been dusted with cinnamon, but didn’t avoid the area entirely. (My house did smell lovely, though.) Many people swear by this one, so I’m wondering if they’re using a really strong, fresh batch of ground cinnamon. But for me, no dice.
– Bay leaves. Like the issue I ran into with cinnamon, the ants walked around any area that had a crushed bay leaf near it, but ultimately did not avoid the area entirely. Again, I’m wondering if fresh bay leaves would be more effective (since they do smell stronger, and ants allegedly hate their scent) than dried.
– Vodka. A 3-to-1 ratio of vodka to water, poured into a spray bottle, was recommended to me by a friend. I sprayed this all over the kitchen. While it did kill the ants, the kitchen also smelled of vodka, giving guests the wrong impression.
– Dish liquid and water mix. This is, hands-down, the most effective way to get rid of ants. I used about two tablespoons’ worth diluted in a pint of water. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle. Spritz near windows, doors and cracks, but don’t wipe it away. This apparently destroys the scent trail that alerts more ants to come on down. Then, spray any roaming ants with this solution to, well, kill them (and okay, then wipe the ants away). It works surprisingly fast.

How to Get Rid of Ants

  • White vinegar – Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water . Wipe your counters, tables, appliances and jars with the solution to kill ants and prevent them from returning.
  • Soap – Spray a soapy water solution into holes and crevices that may be the entry point for ants in your home. Soap is an effective remedy for preventing ants from entering your home .
  • Cucumber peel – You have to try this method to believe that it works. Place a piece of cucumber peel in an area where you find ant infestations. Ants don’t like cucumber and will not return .
  • Dried herbs – Ants are not fans of dried herbs, particularly mint and bay leaves. Sprinkle dried mint or place bay leaves in places where you find ants .
  • Chili powder – If you find an ant hill in or near your home, sprinkle chili or cayenne pepper into their nest. The spicy powder will kill the ants at their source and prevent them from coming back .
  • Borax – Borax is considered to be the most effective way to kill household ants. You may sprinkle it in powder form or mix the powder with a sugar solution and spray the liquid into ant nests. Be sure to keep the borax away from babies and young children, because it can cause skin irritations and headaches .

Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf is the name given to the fragrant leaves of the Laurel Tree. These are also known as Bay Laurel, Turkish Bay or Sweet Bay. In scientific terms, Bay Leaf is called Laurus Nobilis. The Bay Leaf Tree is a member of genus Lauraceae Laurel.

Is Bay Leaf Poisonous?

Bay Leaves are often considered to be poisonous. This is due to the fact that spreading whole or crushed Bay Leaves in pantries and kitchens have been found to keep cockroaches, meal moths and flies away. But this is mainly because of the aromatic oils present in Bay Leaves. Household pests are repelled by these oils which act as a deterrent for them. But Bay Leaves are undoubtedly non-poisonous.

Bay Leaf Health Benefits

The health benefits of Bay Leaf are numerous. Bay Leaves are extremely beneficial for health and can be used in various ways. Bay Leaves are rich in iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A and C. These are extremely beneficial for the body and are therefore fit for human consumption. When used in cooking, these are a highly nutritious addition to cuisine.

Picture 1 – Bay Leaf
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Bay Leaf Oil Benefits

Add 10-15 drops of Bay Leaf oil into 16 ounces of your shampoo and rinse your hair with this solution. This is known as an effective cure for dandruff.

Taking a bath with water mixed with Bay Leaf oil can be very soothing for the senses. Dipping your hands and feet in Bay Leaf-water solution can ease pain in those regions.

The aromatic properties of Bay Leaf oil make it apt to be used as a room freshener. Pour a few drops of Bay Leaf oil into a dish. Light a candle below this to gently heat the oil and vaporize it. Bay Leaf vapors calms the mind and relieves stress.

You can also add a few drops of this oil to your skin care products to add fragrance to them.

Bay Leaf History

Laurel Tree is said to have been grown since early times of mankind. Asia Minor is said to be the place of Bay Leaf origin wherefrom it spread to the Mediterranean regions and other nations having similar climatic conditions. In ancient Greece, eminent statesmen, poets, war heroes and winners of athletic competitions were honored with a crown of Bay Leaves. In Greek Mythology, the Bay Laurel Tree was mentioned to be sacred to Grecian God Apollo.

Today, Bay Laurel Trees are found in many countries like India, Columbia, France, Russia, Belgium, North America, Central America and Italy. Turkey is one of the main exporters of Bay Leaves.

Bay Leaf Flavor

Bay Leaves are bitter and pungent in taste. They feel slightly hot when eaten raw. Bay Leaves have a sharp flavor that is quite different from many other herbs.

Bay Leaf Medicinal Uses

Bay Leaves are great to be used as medicines. Bay Leaves are very effective as diuretics and consuming those helps remove excess water from the body as urine thus clearing toxins and wastes away. It stabilizes insulin processing in the human body thus reducing high sugar levels in bloodstream.

Massaging your body daily with a few drops of oil extracted from Bay Leaves can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by minor bumps, arthritis, strains and sprains. Massaging temples with Bay Leaf oil can help relieve headaches and migraine pains due to Parthenolides present in them.

Bay Leaf oil is also useful in treating joint pain, digestive ailments, respiratory tract infection, flu and cold symptoms. Eugenol in Bay Leaf oil gives it antibacterial and antifungal properties which makes it perfect for curing infections. Liquid Bay Leaf extract strengthens and tones the digestive tract.

Bay Leaf Essential Oil contains ingredients like cineol, α- pinene, β-pinene, methyl eugenol, acetyl eugenol, linalool, terpineol, geraniol, eugenol and chavicol. Slighlty sniffing oil extracted from Bay Leaf benefits sinus and lung congestion. Sniffing too much of it directly can be damaging for health. It is advisable that you add a few drops of Bay Leaf oil to a vaporizer and inhale the air.

Are you suffering from sunburns? Using Bay Leaf oil as a cool compress over sunburn can work as an effective cure.

Bay Leaf oil is famous for its astringent properties. People with oily skin can add a few drops of this oil to the essential skin toner and massage their body to treat acne problems and tone their skin.

Picture 2 – Bay Leaf Image
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How To Grow Bay Leaf?

Growing Bay Leaf requires the knowledge of the climate and soil conditions preferable for the Laurel Tree. The tree cannot withstand extreme cold and needs warm weather conditions to grow and survive. If you live in a hot country, you must keep it in shade as the plant cannot survive extreme heat either. People living in very cold countries should keep their Laurel tree in an indoor environment that receives plenty of sunlight.

Like most trees, Laurels prefer loose, well-drained soil. If your garden has something contrary, you can try buying all-purpose soil from the market that holds enough water for plant growth and survival. Laurels require a fair amount of water though an excess of it can destroy them. 5-10 minutes of daily watering should be enough for Bay Leaf Tree. If you are in a hot country, increase the watering time. People in cold areas can pour slightly warm water to the soil for plant comfort.

Bay Leaf and It’s Uses

Bay Leaves can be used in various ways.

In cooking

Adding Bay Leaves while cooking can add flavor and fragrance to dishes. Both dried Bay Leaf and fresh Bay Leaf is used. Bay leaves contain a number of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body. The high Bay Leaf nutritional value makes them a perfect addition for cuisines. Ingesting Bay Leaf carefully can be extremely beneficial for health.

As medicine

The extremely important Bay Leaf medicinal uses make them a valuable herb. Bay Leaf works a good diuretic, pain reliever, stress reliever and also as a cure for bacterial and fungal infections. They are also useful in providing relief from stress.

As fragrance

Bay Leaf oil is highly popular in cosmetic industries. They are used as a perfume. Adding Bay Leaf oil into beauty products can be beneficial for skin. It contributes as an aromatic element to the products.

As repellent

As aforesaid, they are very useful as insecticides. Ground Bay Leaves and spread the powder on cabinets and kitchen floors. Crushed Bay Leaf can keep pests and insects away for a long time.

Picture 3 – Bay Leaf Photo
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Bay Leaf Nutrition Facts

Know the amount of nutrients per 100 gm of Bay Leaves.


Bay Leaves contain Vitamin A (6185 IU), Vitamin C (46.5 mg), Pyridoxine (1.740 mg), Folates (180 mcg), Riboflavin (0.421 mg) and Niacin (2 mg).


100 gms of Bay Leaf includes 23 mg Sodium and 529 mg Potassium.


Other nutrients

Bay Leaves also contain 313 Kcal energy, 74.97 g carbohydrates, 7.61 g Protein, 8.36 g fat and 26.3 gm dietary fiber. The remaining portion consists of water. There is no cholesterol present in this herb.

Bay Leaf Uses in Cooking

The dark green Bay Leaves are a popular addition for many dishes. These can be used dried or fresh though dried leaves are more preferred. This is because the bitterness is lost in wilted Bay Leaves though the aroma remains intact.

Bay Leaves are used as a flavoring agent in sauces of bread, tomato and béchamel. They are also added to meat and poultry dishes, rice, sweet breads, creams, custards, soups, vegetable and sea foods to add flavor.

Bay Leaves are added as a spice in preparing Court Bouillon.

Can Eating a Bay Leaf Kill You?

Is Bay Leaf dangerous for health? As aforementioned, Bay Leaves are non-poisonous and are not harmful for consumption. However, Bay Leaves are quiet hard to eat and somewhat pungent in taste. If not eaten with care, they may cause choking and also injure the tongue. Bay Leaves eaten whole can also injure the digestive tract. Pregnant women should refrain from having too much of Bay Leaves as they contain chemical compounds that may lead to abortion.

What Can I Substitute For Bay Leaf?

Where the smell and flavor is concerned, there is no Bay Leaf substitute. However, there are some people who cannot bear the taste and flavor of this herb and are simply allergic to it. For such people, Bay Leaf Substitution involves other herbs like Boldo Leaves, Oregano, Thyme, Basil and Juniper Berries can act as alternatives. 1 Bay Leaf equals ¼ tsp crushed Thyme.

Bay Leaf Gardening

Bay Leaves can be grown in a container or a pot. Bay Leaf growing in a pot can be done by following these steps.

  • Fill 3/5th of the pot with potting soil/all-purpose gardening soil and 1/5th Perlite.
  • Remove the seedling very carefully so as not to disturb the roots.
  • Plant the seedling to moderate depth with care, covering its roots with soil.
  • Water the soil thoroughly. Let it drain.
  • Place the pot near a window that lets in a generous amount of sunlight.
  • Fertilize the soil twice a year, once in summer and once in spring. Choose a fertilizer that you can use for both indoor and outdoor plants. Check the instructions on the package to fertilize properly.
  • Move the plant outside when the temperature conditions are moderate in every respect. Both extremes of heat and cold are bad for the health of Bay Leaves.

Bay Leaf Tree Care

Bay Leaves can grow well and last for quite a number of years with little care. Know some steps on how to care for Bay Leaf trees properly.

  1. Choose a proper, uncluttered location that receives ample sunlight during the morning and shade in the afternoons.
  2. Fertilize the plant well after every two-three months during the first 2 years of its growth. Use an organic fertilizer that is water-soluble if you are going to use the leaves not only for aromatic purposes but also cooking.
  3. Prune the sapling to keep its height, width and shape in check. Trim only twice every year, once at summer end and also at the beginning of spring.
  4. Maintain a balance in moisture until the tree is fully grown. This is highly necessary if you are growing the bay tree in a pot.
  5. Regulate watering as per the season. Increase water during the summer months and decrease it in the winter season.
  6. If you live in a country where it snows during winter, it is advisable that you bring the plant indoors and keep it in a cool, bright environment to avoid frost bites. People in very hot countries should also keep their plant in some sunlit spot indoors to prevent them from getting sun-burnt.

Lack of proper care can result in Bay Leaf diseases like Rusting of the plant, Mottling, Leaf Spots, Pest attacks and Mottling.

Bay Leaf Pruning

Pruning Bay Leaf tree is very important in maintaining its shape and size. Trimming is also necessary for its ornamentation. You can prune a Bay Leaf Tree either for decoration or to keep the tree small. Here are some steps you need to follow to prune the tree the right way.

Wait till April and watch the base of the tree. Do you see multiple stems coming out of the soil? If yes, cut off all the stems with hand pruners leaving the thickest vertical shoot intact to serve as the tree trunk.

Trim with pruning shears any side shoots you can locate arising sideways from the bottom of the trunk. This will help to keep the trunk surface smooth.

Prune the foliage in any shape you like such as a triangle, a circle or a cone. If you are not too sure of a shape, just trim off the last two or three inches from each branch tip.

Repeat the above steps once again in August to remove any extra growth.

Bay Leaf Pictures

Want to know what does a Bay Leaf look like? Here are some useful Bay Leaf Pictures. Check out these Bay Leaf images to get a visual idea about the appearance of these leaves.

Picture 4 – Bay Leaf Picture
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Picture 5 – Dry Bay Leaf
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Photos by Claire Lower

Bay leaves are the dryer sheets of the kitchen. I know that they do something, I’m just not entirely sure what it is, and I don’t really miss them when I run out. Yet I keep buying them, because this what humans that cook do. They buy bay leaves and put them in things.

I never questioned my ways, until I read Kelly Conaboy’s ground-breaking piece of food journalism, The Vast Bay Leaf Conspiracy. Within it, Conaboy asks (and answers) the tough questions:

“What does a bay leaf taste like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf smell like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf look like? A leaf. How does a bay leaf behave? It behaves as a leaf would, if you took a leaf from the tree outside of your apartment building and put it into your soup.”


Conaboy’s work caused me to look inward, and once I did I realized that I had no fucking clue what a bay leaf tasted or smelled like, at least not in any real, visceral way. (I mean, I could just accept the word of the many chefs interviewed for the piece, but they’re far too involved in the conspiracy to be trusted.) According to propaganda printed on the jar of bay leaves I just purchased, they “have a bold, vibrant flavor with a hint of camphor and eucalyptus.”

We’ll see.

In addition to being shrouded in mystery, these leaves also have a bit of a reputation as trouble makers. Not only do they cause severe mental distress to a certain subset of the population, but I have personally heard tell of at least two people who have been hurt by the plant part, including our very own editor-in-chief who, as a child, choked on a leaf that had been cleverly hiding in a bowl of chili.

To settle the matter—and my soul—I bought a whole bunch of bay leaves to sniff and taste. Obviously, the tasting portion of my investigation would be the most involved, as bay leaves cannot be eaten. (And yet we put them in food. Are you starting to wake up, sheeple? Nay—leafple?)

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I acquired three types of bay leaves: fresh, dried but brand new, and dried but very old, and I sniffed them all. To check for the existence of flavor, I cooked each type of leaf in the blandest food I had in my pantry: plain white rice. (I also cooked some plain rice sans leaf, as a control.) Besides the change of leaf in each batch, all were cooked the exact same way (in my Instant Pot) and tasted side-by-side. Let’s explore each one, leaf by leaf.


Fresh Bay Leaves That Look a Whole Lot Like Every Other Generic Leaf

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These actually didn’t have any real smell to speak of, which was surprising to me, as I expected them to smell the most strongly. This could be because they were whole, with their smell contained safely within their unbroken cellular walls, or it could be a damning piece of evidence in the developing case against Big Leaf.

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To see if any flavor could be coaxed from this scentless wonder, I threw one of the leaves into my Instant Pot with a cup of rice. Once the rice was done cooking, I opened the pot and was greeted with a tea-like, vaguely medicinal and slightly savory smell. Color me surprised.

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However, when I first took a bite of this batch of rice, I was underwhelmed. The rice tasted of rice, and it was fine, but I wasn’t like “oh hey, I am definitely tasting a thing that is not rice in here,” I was more like “uh, maybe this kind of tastes how it smells if you squint your tongue?”

But then I took a bite of leaf-less rice for comparison, and wouldn’t you know that rice tasted as flat as Tila Tequila thinks the earth is. I went back to the leaf-ful rice, and noticed a distinct roundness of flavor that didn’t really call attention to itself, so much as it made the rice taste like better rice. This only made me more certain in my dryer sheet analogy; they make things better, but it’s hard to put your finger on exactly why. NEXT LEAF.


Dried, But Freshly Purchased Leaves

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Unlike their fresh counterpart, these babies had an immediately detectable smell. I got a good whiff of that medicinal tea aroma, but there was a pungency that I hadn’t detected before. One of these leaves also got cooked into some rice.


The aroma that wafted out my Instant Pot this time was very similar to the fresh leaf aroma except there was a good bit of pungent funk and vague hints of Vicks Vapor Rub.

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That slightly camphor-y funk carried over to the flavor of the rice, but it was a timid, soft, melodic funk, and I had to keep going back to the sad, plain rice for contrast. If I had a to sum up my impression of bay leaves thus far, I might use the word “subtle,” but that might be a tad bit aggressive.


Sad, Really Old Bay Leaves That Were Living in My Boyfriend’s Cabinet

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“Do you have any really old bay leaves?” I asked my man-friend, hoping that his spice cabinet was as poorly organized as I suspected it was. “Yes,” he confirmed, “I will bring them over tomorrow.” (Really, who needs flowers?) These sad, crumbly leaves smelled a lot like the slightly less-sad, less-crumbly dried leaves, only they were less pungent, and slightly musty. They also got the rice treatment.

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At this point I was pretty tired of eating rice, and rice with an old, surprisingly peel-y bay leaf wasn’t exactly getting me excited about consuming more. But I did it anyway. I did it for you. I did it for me. I did it because I had pitched this idea very hard a couple of days prior.

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As you could probably guess—because you’re very smart—the old dried leaf smelled and tasted like the new dry leaf, only less so. (More like the memory of a bay leaf than an actual bay leaf.) Honestly though, it’s malignant appearance discouraged me from eating a ton of it. Also I didn’t want to eat more rice. (I wanted to eat pretzel chips dipped in sour cream.)

Eating all this rice however, taught me a lot. Though I still maintain my position on the whole dryer sheet analogy, I feel like I have more of a grasp on what it is the leaves “do.” Unlike showy cinnamon or that attention-grabbing star anise, bay leaves are all about complementing their surroundings. They round out the dish they’re in without hogging the spotlight, especially if there aren’t a whole lot of bold flavors in the mix. Will I continue buying and using them in my stocks and broths? Sure. But if I’m making a hearty beef stew or some other rich dish, I’m not going to panic if I run out of leaves. I’m also not going to panic if I run out of dryer sheets; my clothes will just be a little less well-rounded.


Wreathes of bay leaves were presented to victorious generals in ancient Rome. During their triumph or subsequent procession through the streets of Rome a high-status slave would hold it above their head and whisper in their ear “you are but a man” (hominem te memento) to remind them that even with all the adulation of the crowd they were not a god. Laurel wreaths were also the original gold-medal award in ancient Greece for successful Olympic athletes.

Bay leaves, usually local indigenous versions, are ground and added to spice rubs in Mexico, India and the US south. They work just as well here ground with spices like cumin, coriander and a little cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. All of these last three contain eugenol, the same essential oil found in bay leaves, which helps explain why they make sense together. And why they seem to be equally at home in spiced African stews. Food writer Elizabeth David, however, described the flavour of bay leaves as “nutmeg and vanilla”.

Mexico, Indonesia, West Indies, California and India all have their own indigenous versions of the bay leaf. For example, bay leaves can be substituted in massaman curries, Indonesian soto soup or some rendangs for the distantly related, less pungent Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam).

Given the high volatile-oil content of the Californian bay laurel more pungent leaves, the local cut loads of the hardwood down because they pose a big danger during bushfires. The local fire authorities advise not planting these bays within 30 feet of any structures.

Bay leaves can be placed in packets of flour, rice and cereals to ward off insects, especially weevils. This may be because the word got around that entomologists used to place crushed young fresh bay leaves at the bottom of their killing jars for ‘offing’ insects they want to mount calmly and gently.

In the 17th century it was also believed by some herbalists that bay leaves could protect you from witchcraft as well as lightning and thunder. These days bay leaves and bay oil are credited with reducing blood sugar, removing dandruff and having anti-ageing properties.

Feeling stressed? Try burning a bay leaf in an ashtray to relax yourself. The aroma of the smoke is claimed to be calming.

Six bay essentials

  1. Don’t use too much or too many – bay leaves can make things way too pungent and bitter. Four fresh is my limit in a stew or braise, but usually I’ll use just one leaf to infuse a milk or cream base and two or three in more robust dishes such as Bolognese.
  2. Note that dry bay leaves are even more pungent so halve those amounts at first. You can always add more if you think the dish needs it.
  3. Gently crush bay leaves before adding them to a dish to release more flavour. Take care when crushing dried bay leaves – they may crumble, making it hard to fish them out later.
  4. You don’t have to remove bay leaves from stews or braises before serving – they aren’t poisonous, just not very nice to eat. The exception to this rule is when you infuse them in cream or milk and you want to limit the length of time they spend steeping so they don’t become overpowering.
  5. Be sure you’re using true bay leaves. Lots of leaves look similar and some, like cherry laurel for instance, are poisonous, containing a form of cyanide. Not good!
  6. Fresh bay leaves can be expensive so, if you’ve got the space, buy a tree because once you make bay your bae you may well find it’s a lifetime love affair.

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Boric acid kills roaches (among other creepy-crawlies). Which is great if you want to dispose of roach carcasses and enjoy crafting little tinfoil boats and filling them with white powder, gleefully placing them in enticing spots like kitchen cupboards, the insecticide version of a pederast stocking his windowless van with candy.

But what if you just want to keep roaches away in the first place?

Bay leaves. That’s right. They’re good for something other than soups.

Like boric acid, bay leaves are the kinder, gentler (at least to humans) and more natural way of keeping insects at bay. Pun intended. But they don’t just banish roaches.

Bay leaves also keep weevils out of your flour, cornmeal, Bisquick and other cupboard products, and they deter ants, silverfish and a whole horde of other insects that are legion in the swampy Bayou City. Unlike insecticides, they’re — obviously — totally safe to keep around food, and they cost a lot less money.

The bag of bay leaves above came from Georgia’s. It cost $4. Add in the cost of a little Scotch tape and your home insecticide arsenal is well-stocked.

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Simply tape fresh bay leaves inside cabinets or under appliances to ward off insect invasions. You can also stick the leaves themselves into your canisters or bags of flour, cornmeal, etc. The flavor and scent of the leaves won’t leech into your dried goods, so don’t worry about that. The scent will, however, drive bugs crazy and keep them far away from your pantry.

The only worry: Changing the leaves every few months when they get stale.

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  • Recipes

7 Plants That Repel Insects

The warmer months are on their way, and what does that mean? Bugs! If you are not into using chemicals to repel bugs, read on for some great plants that are natural insect repellents!

Think about it: repelling insects naturally, and sprucing up your space with beautiful plants- what could be better?


Not only is it fragrant and beautiful, but mint has an added benefit: ants and mice absolutely hate it! Plant a few sprigs of milk around your house, near your entryways, to keep those pests out of the way. Added bonus: you will have fresh, home grown mint to add to those summer recipes and drinks!


Yes, that catnip, the same greenery that makes your kitten go crazy, can repel bugs as well! Talk about a multitasker! Some studies even show that catnip might be more effective at repelling insects than DEET (the powerful ingredient commonly found in insect repellents). You can take a few leaves of catnip, roll them around and press them onto the skin, and viola! Bugs won’t want to be anywhere near!


Basil is fragrant and is used in many different recipes, but also for medicinal purposes as well! Place some potted basil plants in areas where flies are common to help deter them. Basil is great to place near your outdoor grill or picnic tables, where flies like to gather. Don’t forget that basil needs to be watered at the roots and not the leaves.

Bay Leaves:

The bitter plant is often used for it’s fragrance in cooking, but, bugs hate the scent. You can use bay leaves to repel flies, moths, mice, earwigs and roaches. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have fresh bay leaf plants, you can use dried bay leaves to get the same results!

Lemon Balm:

Lemon balm is a plant that is in the mint family, and produces a strong lemony odour that many pests hate. You can use lemon balm for a plethora of medical reasons, from cold sores to digestive issues. Plant lemon balm near your entrance ways or patios, and you can also crush it up and rub it onto your skin for an immediate effect.


One of the “oldest tricks in the book” when it comes to insect repelling plants, citronella is famous for making bugs hate it! Citronella is used in all sort of candles, torches, and insect repellents, but using the “real deal” aka the live plant is much more effective. Citronella is a large clumping grass that looks great in flower beds and patio planters. Try to place your citronella plants near places where people gather for the best effect.


Everyone loves lavender for it’s beautiful purple flowers and calm, relaxing scent. However, bugs don’t like it so much! Keep lavender growing in your patio planters or garden to keep the bugs away. You can also hang dried lavender in your closet, and you will never have to worry about moths eating your clothes!

As you can see, there are many different plants that repel insects. Whether you are looking to repel insects in your garden, on your patio, or even inside your home, there are plenty of choices out there, we stock most of these and would be more than happy to help you further.

As you can see it is easy to repel pests naturally without using any chemicals!

The Overlooked Plant That Keeps Bugs Out Of Your Pantry

Image source: .com

Did you know you may have an effective natural insect repellent in your kitchen right now?

Often used fresh or dry as a way to add flavor and aroma to soups, stews and sauces, bay leaves can be your secret weapon against a variety of household pests. Even better: They are inexpensive and safe to use.

The term bay leaf refers to the leaves of several plants, including the bay laurel; the California bay leaf (aka California laurel, Oregon myrtle and pepperwood); the Indian bay leaf; the Indonesian bay leaf; the West Indian bay leaf; and the Mexican bay leaf.

The leaves of these plants contain essential oils, such as eucalyptol and other terpenes. The leaves have a strong fragrance and a sharp, bitter taste when eaten whole. When cooking, the bay leaf has a slightly floral aroma that is somewhat similar to thyme or oregano.

One easy way to deter bugs is by taping a few fresh (not dried) bay leaves inside cabinets or under shelves where you have seen insects. You also can place the leaves inside canisters or packages that hold pasta, rice, oats, flour or cornmeal.

Just 30 Grams Of This Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

When you use bay leaves in your kitchen to repel insects, the smell will not transfer into your food. But it will drive pests away.

Another option is to place bay leaves along baseboards, near trashcans and under appliances.

The leaves will lose their odor in a few days, so you will need to replace them with fresh leaves about once a week to maintain effectiveness.

Here are some of the insects bay leaves repel:


  • Wasps.
  • Flies.
  • Sugar ants.
  • Pantry moths.
  • Earwigs.
  • Weevils.

A recent look on Amazon uncovered some bulk deals on bay leaves that are easy on the wallet. For example, a six-ounce resalable plastic bag filled with Turkish Bay Leaves from Medley Hills Farm Gourmet is priced at $9.89.

A 16-ounce bag of whole bay leaves from Frontier Bay sells for $19.58.

Spicy World offers a three-pound bag with a $35.99 price tag.

Another way to have plenty of bay leaves on hand is to grow your own bay tree. The Internet offers several helpful videos if you would like to undertake this project. Here are two examples.

In addition, it is relatively easy to start bay plants from cuttings.

The use of bay leaves as an insect repellent is not backed up by scientific studies, but plenty of people swear by their effectiveness in keeping bugs at bay (pun intended). If you are plagued by insects in your pantry, what do you have to lose? It makes sense to give bay leaves a try.

Have you ever used bay leaves to chase away insects? Share your tips on using them in the section below:

Keeping Pests Out Of Your Pantry

You might store your dry food in the pantry, but certain pests would refer to your pantry as their dining room. Certain pantry pests will gladly make their homes in your kitchen or basement pantry, silently feeding on your cereal, flour, or other stored foods.

Pantry insects and pests can inhabit and feed on common cooking and baking ingredients such as flour, nuts, dried fruit, or other stored products like pet food. Two of the most common pantry pests to look out for in your kitchen include the Indian meal moth and the merchant grain beetle, but other common pests like cockroaches, ants, and rodents can cause problems in your pantry as well. Indian meal moths can be found eating away at grains, seeds, nuts, powdered milk, candy, and occasionally dried red peppers. Merchant grain beetles tend to snack on cake mixes, pasta, chocolate, and cookies. Many pantry pests aren’t particularly picky about what foods they eat, so you may have plenty of products to protect. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep insects and rodents away from your pantry.

Plants Are Your Friends

Adding a bay leaf to packages and containers of dry goods like grains, rice, or flour will keep pantry pests at bay (pun intended). Bay leaves can repel flies, moths, roaches, and mice, simply because they can’t stand the bitter smell the leaves exude. The leaves don’t even need to be fresh, either; dried bay leaves work just as well.

Many other plants and herbs have pest-repelling properties as well. Some studies have shown that catnip may be more effective at deterring insects (like cockroaches, especially) than DEET, which is a chemical found in most insect repellants. Fresh pennyroyal mint is often used to keep ants out of kitchens, and basil makes for an excellent fly repellant.

Use Plastic Storage Containers

Store your food in resealable, plastic Rubbermaid or Tupperware-style containers. The thicker protection will keep insects and rodents from infiltrating or chewing through otherwise flimsy (cardboard) packaging. Glass can work just as well as plastic; just be sure your storage container is topped by a tight-fitting lid.

Keep Your Kitchen And Pantry Clean

It should probably be pretty obvious to you by now that pests are attracted to food sources. Even still, the importance of proper sanitation cannot be stressed enough. Don’t let messes and spills sit for too long. Clean up any crumbs, spilled ingredients, debris, or liquid as soon as possible, and dispose of trash regularly. You may even consider occasionally cleaning your pantry and shelves with soap and water to eliminate any bugs that may be hiding in those spaces.

Is your kitchen being plagued by pantry pests? The experienced professionals at JP Pest Services can get rid of insects from your kitchen quickly and completely! Contact JP Pest Services to request a free residential estimate today!

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