Your own bay laurel shrub not only gives you immediate access to fresh bay leaves whilst cooking, but also access to year-round, free, safe-to-handle insect repellant!
The leaves of the Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) contain highly aromatic compounds such as eucalyptol and other terpenes, and it is these which are believed to be the insect-deterring agents.
Simply place fresh leaves on pantry shelves, under the fridge, and inside cupboards, where they will dry in place and deter cockroaches, weevils, ants, flies, and moths. Another tip, where you have large bags of flour, rice, barley, oats, and other grains — bags not so easily made insect-proof — is to place leaves directly into the bags. The leaves may crumble over time but are perfectly safe to eat should any small particles carry over to your cooking.
Alternatively, dry the leaves and crumble them so as to more easily distribute them behind furniture and along walls.
It is best to replace the leaves every few months for maximum effectiveness.