Natural bug repllents and bug eaters available



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The Luedeckes, father and daughter writing team, contribute a regular column to The Highlander and Burnet Bulletin, the newspapers of record for Highland Lakes and Burnet area. To request submission of a column for either publication, email




By Bill Luedecke & Martelle Luedecke

Our glorious rain this season has produced a mesmerizing array of wildflowers. Just think of all the seeds they will produce for future years! We are blessed to live in the center of a bouquet.

With the last days of school approaching, we’ve noticed all the bug repellents for sale. We’re not fans of the smell of bug spray but we do love the smell of flowers and plants. So, in our garden we have planted in pots (so we can move them to the porch if needed) herbs and flowers that attract pollinators that EAT mosquitoes and plants that repel blood suckers. For instance, did you know that dragonflies are often referred to as ‘mosquito hawks’? Many birds feed on ‘blood suckers’ and flies also.

Birds you want as your neighbors (because they eat bugs): Purple Martins, bluebirds, chickadees, nighthawks, (according to Rodale organic life: “They aren’t hawks, but they are insect-eating superheroes that swoop over cities, fields, woodlands, and deserts, sucking up flying ants, flies, leaf chafers, mosquitoes, moths, and grasshoppers. Nighthawks even eat Colorado potato beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs!”), nuthatches, phoebes, sparrows, swallows, vireos (Bell’s vireo), wood peckers, wrens, scissor tail flycatchers, and summer tanagers. Many more of our avian friends feed on pests. Keep water in your garden for the birds to help them wash down the bugs. Dump and refill on a regular basis so that you aren’t harvesting more mosquitoes.

Now about those plants that are in pots. Many of you are familiar with the citronella plant to repel mosquitoes. There are more: Basil repels flies and mosquitoes; lavender keeps moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes away; lemongrass, lemon thyme, mint and rosemary also keep the mosquitoes away. And oh, the delicious smells growing.

Light Pollution

Ben Eldredge of Cibolo Nature Center eloquently explains the importance of “Dark Sky Lighting.” ‘Our stars are fading behind a vail of light. As communities grow, the amount of light grows with them, casting more light into our atmosphere. This light interacts with particles in the atmosphere, bouncing light back to the planet’s surface. Eventually, all but the brightest stars become obscured from view. This effect is called “light pollution” and besides blocking our view of the universe, it also disrupts people’s sleep patterns and confuses wildlife. This is why “Dark Sky Lighting” and “Dark Sky Ordinances” are becoming more common throughout the Texas Hill Country. Through proper outdoor and street lighting that focuses light downward, coupled with lights that are tuned to a yellow-orange color temperature of no more than 3000 Kelvin, we can regain our night sky, improve our security and sleep soundly. It’s easy to keep “The stars at night…big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas,” simply head on over to the Hill Country Alliance website to learn more about dark sky lighting.’

Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1 Have questions or comments? Contact Bill at The Luedecke Group Realtors (512) 577-1463 or email Or contact Martelle Luedecke (512) 769-3179 at




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