What Does Rosemary Repel? Pest Control With Rosemary

Most people that consider adding rosemary to their garden do so because of its useful properties. They like that it adds beauty to their garden. They like that it smells nice and can help with minor aches and pains. But most of all, they like that its sprigs can be used in cooking. What most people don’t consider when planting rosemary is that it can help control pests as well. As if rosemary wasn’t already useful enough, it gets even better! Keep reading to find out more about rosemary and pest control.


Does rosemary repel insects, really? Yes! Not only does repelling pests protect itself, but it also protects other plants that it’s planted by. Rosemary: insect repellent extraordinaire! Many people like to grow multiple plants together in their gardens. Depending on which plants you choose, this can be very beneficial. So, which pests does rosemary ward off? Below, you will find my full guide to how plants repel pests, which pests rosemary repels, and how to best plant rosemary for the best results.

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Can Plants Control Pests?

Certain plants can control pests. Many plants that do this emit aromas or chemicals that are unappealing to pests. Some plants can even be toxic to pests if they find themselves chomping on them.

The fact that some plants can deter pests is great. It helps prevent your other crops from being eaten and destroyed.

It creates less work for you, as the plants will take care of each other. It also means that you won’t have to use insecticides which can be damaging to your plants. Not only that, but insecticides will prevent your garden from receiving good bugs as well.

In fact, many plants that emit properties that deter pests, also emit properties that will attract pollinators and other good bugs.

what does rosemary repel

Why Grow Rosemary?

There are many reasons people like to plant rosemary. It smells very nice and is beautiful to look at. It can be used to treat minor ailments like anxiety and joint pain. Best of all, its sprigs can be used in dishes like soups, sauces, and roasts to enhance the flavor of your cooking.

But, did you know that rosemary also wards off pests?

If you’re having trouble with pests in your home or garden, rosemary just might be your solution.

Does Rosemary Repel Mosquitoes?

Rosemary is considered one of the best herbs for repelling mosquitoes. This is because it’s a woody plant with a strong, woody scent. Mosquitoes hate this scent and will keep far away from rosemary and anything growing near it.

Mosquitoes are one of the worst insects to have in your garden because they harass you and bite at your skin. By planting rosemary, the mosquitoes should disappear, and you can go back to enjoying your garden.

Another bonus is that there are other plants that repel mosquitoes as well. Lavender, marigolds, and sage all emit a similarly strong smell that mosquitoes hate. Better yet, these plants are all compatible to be planted with rosemary. They all do very well together and can even help each other to grow.

If you want a garden that’s really mosquito repellent, purchase rosemary along with these other plants.

What Bugs Does Rosemary Repel?

Besides some of the more problematic insects like mosquitos and lice, rosemary can deter other bugs as well. Here are some other bugs that will crawl or fly away from rosemary:

  • Ants
  • Bed bugs
  • Bees
  • Cockroaches
  • Flies
  • Wasps
  • Cabbage moths

Does Rosemary Repel Lice?

Rosemary’s powerful scent doesn’t stop there, though. There are plenty of other bugs and insects that hate the strong aroma of rosemary. Like mosquitos, lice are particularly sensitive to the strong scent of rosemary. If lice smell rosemary, they will run in the other direction.

Rosemary isn’t likely to kill lice by itself. However, you can use your rosemary to create your own essential oils. Essential oils are a stronger and more potent form of your rosemary. If lice come in contact with these oils, they can die very quickly.

Rosemary essential oils can also be used around the home in areas where you’re having trouble with lice.

If you’re simply looking to deter lice rather than kill them, rosemary sprigs will be enough. Simply clip some sprigs from your rosemary shrub and place them in the areas of your home that need protected.

Does Rosemary Repel Fleas?

Fleas are a disgusting problem that can make its way into your house, particularly if you own cats or dogs. Fleas eat the blood of other animals, and this includes you! If fleas come into your home riding on your pet or your sweater, their eggs can fall into your carpet or rugs. Without even knowing, the eggs now have a perfect place to hatch and further invade your home.

Disgusting, right?

Not everyone likes to use pesticides and will seek natural insect repellents instead. If you own a rosemary plant, you’re in luck!

Unlike with mosquitoes and lice, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that rosemary can deter fleas. However, many people have reported eye-witness accounts of fleas being deterred by rosemary.

The best way to use rosemary to prevent a flea infestation is to plant it in your garden. When your rosemary plant is in your garden near your house, it acts as a permanent repellent to these disgusting critters.

If you need to use rosemary inside — whether to prevent an infestation or to manage a current one — there are other options.

Grab some fresh rosemary from your garden and crush it with a pestle and mortar. The powder can then be sprinkled over your carpets, furniture, and entry points like windowsills.

Another option is to buy or make rosemary essential oil. Dip a cotton ball in the oil and leave them in areas of your house where you have noticed the most fleas. Most common areas include windowsills and doorways. You can also sprinkle drops of oil along these entry points as well if you don’t wish to use cotton balls.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that rosemary can kill fleas. It’s best used as a preventative to repel fleas from ever entering your home. If you already have an infestation, using rosemary as a repellant can help, but it won’t eliminate the issue.

NEVER use rosemary oil on your pets. Rosemary in itself is non-toxic to cats and dogs, but oil is highly concentrated and can cause an adverse reaction in your pets.

If you wish to use rosemary to deter fleas from your pet, it’s better to purchase shampoo. Rosemary is a common ingredient in most pet shampoos, so the scent can act as a deterrent.

Does Rosemary Repel Ticks?

Similar to how rosemary repels fleas, it will do the same for ticks. You can use rosemary as we described in the above section to prevent your home from being invaded by ticks.

Remember, NEVER use rosemary oil on your pet. Stick with rosemary-scented shampoos to act as a deterrent.

What Does Rosemary Repel? Everything Else

Rosemary does not only repel bugs and insects. There are other critters that hate it as well, either for its taste or smell:

  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Mice & Rats
  • Deer

How To Plant Rosemary To Stop Pests

Basically, you’ll want to plant your rosemary anywhere you’d like to deter pests. There are a few options.

If you’re having trouble with pests in your home, you can plant rosemary near your windowsills.

If you have a closed garden, planting rosemary at your garden gate will deter pests and encourage pollinators.

Plant a hedge-like fence of rosemary around an open-concept fence. Or, simply plant multiple rosemary plants around the edges of your garden.

If you want to companion-plant your garden, you can intersperse your rosemary among your other plants. Just make sure they’re spaced 2-3 feet apart.

Final Words on Repelling Pests with Rosemary

Most gardeners know that rosemary makes a great companion plant for lots of crops. One reason they make such great companion crops is that they repel a host of different pests. Even better, if you’re having trouble with pests in your home, you can use fresh rosemary, rosemary powder, or rosemary oil to get rid of them. Some pests rosemary repels include mosquitos, fleas & ticks, lice, mice & rats, deer, flies, and other gross bugs. If you’ve ever looked for a natural way to prevent pests from invading your home, rosemary might be your best option.

Want to learn more? Click here to read my guide to whether rosemary spreads or here for where to plant rosemary. You can also find out why you should plant rosemary by the garden gate here, the best growing conditions here or all my rosemary guides here.

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