Try planting a pest repellent garden this year. A number of herbs ward off would-be insect and rodent intruders and of course have all the great uses of different herbs. Here is a quick list of plants and what they can do.
Mint: repels flies, fleas, mice, rats and ants. Mint is a wonderful addition to lots of recipes including ice cream, drinks and so much more. It also has a fragrant smell, attractive green leaves and grows like mad. It is a perennial so once you pick one of these plants up, you should never have to replace it. It even grows well in pots and indoors. It comes in several varieties including peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint to name a few.
Lavender: repels flies, silverfish and fleas. Santolina (Cotton Lavender) has the strongest insect repellent properties and can be mixed with English lavender (for scent) in sachets. To take these properties inside hang lavender to dry inside your home or add dried lavender to sachets to use in drawers or hang in your closet. Lavendar also is a lovely decorative plant with a pleasant aroma. It can be used in cooking as well as dried for scent.
Basil: fly and mosquito repellent. as well as one of the most used herbs in my garden. Outside (even in pots) it is easy to grow. It gets a little more fussy inside, but you can grow it with more care.
Catnip: mosquitoes. Some say that the oil in catnip, nepetalactone, is 10 times more effective than DEET. Be careful with this one if you have a neighborhood full of strays as this can turn your garden into a cat hang out and litter box.
I saved the very, very best for last. If you live in a big city, or a crowded apartment building, you need to be growing this plant in a pot on your window sill or balcony. It hits almost all the things apartment dwellers need.
Tansy: repels moths, flies, ants, mice, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites and bedbugs. Oh yeah, you heard that right, tansy repels bed bugs and cockroaches. Tansy is also know as Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare; sometimes called Common Tansy or Garden Tansy), Costmary (Tanacetum balsamita), and Feverfew). It also has a host of uses including topical insect repellent and treating insect bites. Do not however ingest tansy as it contains the toxic substance thujone, which may cause hallucinations, spasms, convulsions, and even death in large doses.