The Sweet-Smelling Garden Herb That Helps Naturally Repel Wasps

Spring and summer are for enjoying the outdoors, but it's hard to do that when pesky insects like wasps come to ruin the party. Instead of swatting them away from your barbecue table all season long, you can use your green thumb to create a natural fortress in your backyard that will send them buzzing the other way.

Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a daisy-like plant with a sweet fragrance that smells like trouble to wasps, but delicious to us humans. A study published in the Pest Management Science journal in 2013 found that Roman chamomile in its essential oil form significantly repelled yellow jackets and paper wasps. Another reason to grow Roman chamomile is for its healing properties. This plant has been used for ages to treat digestion issues and anxiety. When applied topically, it can also help with skin inflammation and conditions like eczema. Plus, Roman chamomile is relatively easy to grow and maintain — a little bit of TLC is all it takes for this plant to thrive. Whether you plant it in your garden or in pots around your patio, this species is the secret to a wasp-free yard.

How to use Roman chamomile to repel wasps from your yard

To enjoy its wasp-repelling benefits, you can grow Roman chamomile in pots with well-draining soil and keep them by your outdoor seating area. This plant thrives in sunshine, so be sure to give it plenty of light (though it can tolerate partial shade as well). If you would prefer to plant Roman chamomile in your garden, begin by growing the plants indoors a month before the spring warmth begins. Transfer them outside when the soil's temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Lightly bury the plants with soil and provide just enough water for dampness. It's best to arrange the plants 8 to 12 inches apart. 

If kept in the right conditions, these flowers could begin to spring up in as little as 10 weeks. You can also harvest the dried flowers in tinctures, herbal tea blends, and natural fragrances for your home.

Why it's important to keep wasps away this summer

There are several good reasons to keep wasps out of your yard and garden this summer. Their stings are painful and could be dangerous — even mild allergic reactions to insect stings are risky because they have the potential to get worse each time. Wasps also don't lose their stinger with their sting, which is another reason to stay out of their way — or better yet, deter them from your space.

It's not uncommon for wasps to make themselves at home in backyards, specifically in bushes, on the edges of roofs, and inside brick walls. These nests grow quickly and can be tricky to get rid of. Calling an expert for help is often necessary as these insects are territorial and do not like being disturbed. Growing some Roman chamomile is an effective way to keep wasps away for good. However, you should also use other precautions, such as keeping garbage bin lids and picnic food sealed, or hanging a decoy nest. With these tips, it's safe to say that they'll want nothing to do with your yard this summer.