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Professional outdoorsman shares the tiny, common weed that can help keep insects out of your garden: 'I had no idea'

"Decent for fleas & ticks too."

Pineappleweed to keep mosquitoes at bay

Photo Credit: @earthenrangers / Tiktok

It might be time to retire those citronella candles for good. One TikToker recently revealed an unassuming weed you can plant in your backyard to keep mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas at bay. 

The scoop

The TikTok comes from Earthen Rangers (@earthenrangers), a channel dedicated to sharing outdoor and earth skills in an effort to further environmental stewardship. 

The video starts out with a quick explanation of pineappleweed — a fairly regular-looking little yellow plant you may have seen before growing in the cracks of sidewalks. 

Pineappleweed, or Matricaria discoidea, is a natural bug repellent. As if that isn't good enough, it can also double as a delicious tea when steeped in hot water.

"Not only can pineappleweed be rubbed on the skin and clothes to be utilized as a natural insect repellent," the video explains, "but pineappleweed is in the chamomile family and you can steep and brew those flowers just like you can chamomile tea." 

@earthenrangers This Plant is Bug Repellent! #wildplants #edibleplants #bugrepellent #tea #survivalplants #survival ♬ original sound - earthenrangers

How it's helping

Pineappleweed, like other natural mosquito repellants, gives off a strong (but reportedly good) smell. Mosquitoes use their sense of smell to find their victims, which means strong-smelling plants can keep them away. 

Unlike other forms of bug repellents, like DEET sprays or citronella candles, filling your backyard or garden with natural bug-repelling plants keep bugs at bay 24/7 with no extra action necessary. 

What everyone is saying

TikTokers weren't unfamiliar with pineappleweed, but many had no clue the little plant helped repel bugs and could make a delicious tea.

"I love it so much! Funny I only find it growing out of cracks in pavement, so never enough!🥺" one user commented

"I used to play with this," another user added. "[I] had no idea what it could do but remember the smell vividly."

One commenter wanted to know specifically which insects the plant repelled, to which the OP replied, "Mostly repels mosquitoes due to the compounds alpha-terpineol, spathulenol, & neryl isovalerate. Decent for fleas & ticks too."

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