What Can I Put on My Windowsill to Keep Bugs Away? (Three Minute Read)

It always feels like bugs just aren’t content to stay outside where they belong. Many species would much rather try to get into your home, which can be a problem if you are the type of person who likes to keep their windows open.

In this article, we’ll talk about various things you can put on, near, or around your windowsill to keep bugs away from your house.

Chances are, you’ll find an option that works for you somewhere in here. In this article, we will discuss the following options:

  • Carnivorous Plants
  • Natural Store Bought Repellants
  • Particular Food Items
  • Placing a Fan
  • Bug Zappers
  • Plants that Repel Insects
  • Citronella
  • Pomander
  • Reasons Bugs Are Coming In

Carnivorous Plants

Venus Flytrap

There are some plants out there that actually catch and eat bugs. You’ve probably heard of two of the most popular ones, the Venus Flytrap and Pitcher Plant.

Both of these use their methods to catch pests like flies and eat them.

Needless to say, such a carnivorous plant could be placed on a windowsill in order to reduce the number of bugs that make it into your home.

The plants’ attractive scent (for bugs, that is) will lure them towards the plant for destruction rather than into your home. Another plus for this is that these plants are often attractive to look at as well.

Pitcher Plant

That said, this is an option that requires a bit more effort, as you’ll have to care for these plants and ensure they stay alive if you want them to work for your needs.

Make sure you know how to do that before you buy one.

Natural Store Bought Repellant

Of course, stores sell various types of bug repellant, and these are very likely to work when it comes to keeping insects at bay.

That said, you probably want to invest in bug repellants that only use natural ingredients, and no harsh chemicals.

After all, this is something you might be spraying around your window, where there’s a lot of airflows.

If you have a cat or something, it might stand on your windowsill where you spray this repellant. For these reasons, it’s safer to stick to natural repellants. 

When shopping for a store-bought bug repellant, make sure you are carefully checking the ingredients and labels on every product.

Some of them may claim to be all-natural, but that does not mean that they are.

Particular Food Items

There are several scents produced from food and ingredients that many bugs hate. Such examples include cinnamon, mint, cloves, garlic, chili powder, pepper, and even cucumbers.

All of these are options that you could place on your windowsill to feasibly repel insects, though in the case of cucumbers, you’ll need to slice them for the scent to be emitted.

The good news about many of these food items is that they smell good or can be used in a way (such as placing them in a jar) that makes them almost decorative.

Moreover, it is usually pretty cheap to acquire such ingredients as these. 

You should note, however, that the real deal will generally be more effective than powders. Real, fresh garlic will likely repel insects better than garlic powder does.

All things being equal, different bugs dislike different smells, so you will have to experiment with these different ingredients to find the best one for keeping insects out of your home.

Placing a Fan

There are many valid reasons to own a fan, though it may seem strange to point a fan towards an open window instead of towards yourself.

But if you are having a bug problem, this can be a great way to keep bugs outside instead of letting them fly right into your home.

As you may imagine, the main way a fan could do this would be with the strong air current it produces.

Small flying bugs like mosquitoes, flies, and gnats are going to have a hard time flying through the strong winds that a fan is making, so if that strong wind is pushing them away from the window, it’ll be tough for them to get in.

A somewhat less obvious benefit of having a fan on or near your windowsill is that fans help disperse the scents that often attract bugs, especially human scents like sweat that are likely prevalent in your home.

Dispersing those scents means that bugs are less likely to want to investigate your open window in the first place.

Bug Zappers

This one may be a little misleading, as bug zappers technically attract insects, rather than repel them.

But if you have a bug zapper on or around your windowsill, you can rest assured that most bugs will stop their incursion into your home right around it, since they’ll probably be stripped of their mortal coil at that point.

Bug zappers are great because you don’t have to do much for them to work. At the same time, they can be noisy, and sometimes they aren’t particularly appealing to look at.

But if you have a hardcore bug problem, it may just be the best way to go.

Plants that Repel Insects


We’ve mentioned plants that eat insects, but some plants just repel them as well. Such plants generally emit a scent that most bugs just don’t like, which entices said bugs to stay away from them.

So naturally, having these plants on your windowsill will help keep bugs away from your open windows.

Some common plants with bug-repelling scents include lemongrass, lavender, and marigold. There are also other choices like basil, oregano, and even catnip.

All of these can be planted and grown in a pot that can be placed on your windowsills.

Naturally, the added bonus of using this method is that you get attractive plants to look at while also keeping bugs away from your home.

Some of them can even provide spices for cooking. But as we mentioned before, make sure you know how to take care of these plants before you procure them, otherwise, you’ll just be wasting money.


Citronella is another great option for keeping bugs away from your home. It often comes in the form of oil, though it can come as a candle as well.

If you get it in oil form, you can combine it with wax to make your candles, if need be. 

If you are going to make your candles, we recommend using soy wax to do it, instead of paraffin, which has a high concentration of hydrocarbon, which can be irritating to the eyes. 

Citronella has a very potent scent, which may make it an undesirable option for some people, though it is worth noting that most people do not seem to have any issue with the smell, and many people even like it.

If you disliked the scent of it, you could add other scents into the candle that you do like, such as citrus or peppermint.

Naturally, you could place these candles on your windowsill, where the scent of citronella will keep insects away.

Even if you cover that scent with another one, insects tend to have a better smell than we do, so they won’t miss it, and they won’t like it.


A pomander is a piece of fruit studded with cloves that are used to scent the air. You can easily make one of your own with an orange or even a lemon.

Citrus smells are usually repugnant to insects, so these are the best options.

Basically, just get a strong-smelling citrus fruit and stick cloves all over it. You can even make a pattern if you want, to make the pomander both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Once you have done this, you can place it on your windowsill and allow it to do its thing.

Reasons Bugs Are Coming In

If you want to keep bugs out of your house, it might pay to know why they are coming into your house. There are many things that attract bugs, all of which you should be aware of if you want to try and repel them.

Bugs like certain types of light, especially those emitted by lightbulbs. Studies show that LED lights and yellow lightbulbs attract fewer bugs.

Bugs also like bright colors, so you should avoid having these present near entryways that insects may be able to see.

Exposed food and stagnant water are very enticing for insects, and such things are the main reason they try to get into houses.

Make sure you store your food properly and don’t leave standing water around for long periods. 

Finally, beware of perfume, as smells reminiscent of flowers are very attractive for insects like wasps and bees, and we think we speak for everyone when we say that the idea of being attractive to a wasp is not very comforting.

Keep these in mind along with the repellant options mentioned before, and you should be able to get ahead of your insect problem.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

How to Keep Bugs Out When Door Is Open (3-Minute Read)

Herbs to Keep Flies Away with SIMPLE DIY hacks

Why Do Flies and Other Insects Hit Windows – ANSWERED!

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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