Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?
Citronella candles have long been touted as a cure-all for mosquito problems outdoors. Citronella oil, the substance that is a natural repellent for mosquitoes, has been formulated not just into candles but lotions, sprays, and lamps. Although these products are sold at numerous stores, just how effective are they at getting rid of pest problems?
If you place a citronella candle outdoors in the summer, the burning oil may aid in repelling mosquitoes and other insects. Unfortunately, any effectiveness of a citronella candle is short-lived. In fact, some research has shown that citronella candles may only be effective for a couple of hours at a time. For this reason, citronella candles are not strong enough for long-lasting mosquito prevention.
What is Citronella?
Citronella is a naturally occurring oil that is derived from leaves and grass. This gives the citronella oil a characteric yellow/brown color with a grassy, floral, and citrus scent. Citronella essential oil is used for many purposes, namely a natural insect repellent, as perfume, as a food additive, to promote wound healing, and even as an antifungal agent. Citronella candles have since become a very popular product that is marketed to repel not only mosquitoes but a variety of other insects as well.
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How Do Citronella Candles Work?
Mosquitoes rely on their scent to locate hosts to feed on. Citronella’s fragrant scent, then, works to mask mosquito’s sense of smell and effectively keep them from finding people to bite! But just how effective is citronella at keeping mosquitoes away for a long period of time? Research has found that citronella oil, when combined with vanillin, can provide mosquito protection for three hours. When combined with DEET, a citronella product can protect you for over six hours. Unfortunately, citronella candles on their own will only remain effective for two or so hours.
Do Citronella Plants Repel Mosquitoes?
Citronella plants, which are often sold as lemon-scented geraniums, do not repel mosquitoes on their own. This is because it is the oil within the candles that work to repel mosquitoes. The leaves must be crushed or rubbed to extract the oil, which could help to keep mosquitoes at bay. When it comes to repelling mosquitoes, it’s important to always rely on more effective and approved methods of prevention, ideally by working with your local mosquito control experts.