Do citronella candles keep mosquitoes away?

When you start your search for mosquito relief, the first suggestion you’ll likely hear is citronella candles. You can find them in pretty much any grocery or home improvement store, and in every article you read online, but the question remains. How effective are citronella candles at keeping mosquitoes away?

The truth is that citronella candles can keep mosquitoes away, but the effect is not very strong. If you place citronella candles outside, for example, during a party, they may aid in repelling mosquitoes and other insects. However, the effectiveness will probably be shortlived – and if there are lots of mosquitoes in the area, you might not notice much of an effect at all.

What is Citronella?

Citronella is a natural oil with an easily identified yellow/brown color and a strong floral and citrus scent. Citronella oil has been formulated into sprays, lotions, and candles. 

Citronella essential oil is used as a natural insect repellent, perfume, antiseptic, antifungal, and even as a food additive. Citronella candles are very popular for their versatility, affordability, and ease of use. 

Do Citronella Candles Work?

Citronella masks the scents that would otherwise attract mosquitoes to humans. If mosquitoes start far away, citronella can effectively hide the smell of one or a few people. However, the more mosquitoes there are, the more people there are, or the longer the citronella candles have been burning, the more likely it is that one or more mosquitoes will find their way to you.

For this reason, we say, yes, citronella candles can certainly work, but they’re not guaranteed to work.

How Long Do Citronella Candles Last?

Research has found that citronella candles can provide mosquito protection for about three hours.

Can Citronella Plants Repel Mosquitoes?

Citronella plants, typically sold as lemon-scented geraniums, do not repel mosquitoes. It is the oil within the leaves that contains the properties needed to repel mosquitoes. The leaves must be crushed or rubbed to extract the oil, which could help to keep mosquitoes at bay.

If you have any additional questions about mosquitoes in Mid-South TN and mosquito control, be sure to give us a call!

Back to Mosquito Prevention