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Do Citronella Candles Really Work? We Have the Answers

do citronella candles work

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We’ve all experienced it: You’re unwinding or entertaining in your backyard when your R&R is rudely interrupted by the unwelcome buzz of mosquitoes. These pesky bugs have a knack for turning a pleasant afternoon or evening outdoors into a battle against itchy bites and endless swatting. Many turn to citronella candles for relief. In fact, they’re one of the most-used mosquito repellents out there, and they’re natural, thanks to the oils derived from citronella grass. But do citronella candles work?

Despite their widespread use, their effectiveness remains a subject of debate. While some people swear by them, others find their protection lacking. Factors like the level of mosquito infestation, the time of day, and the concentration of the active ingredients in the candles all play a role in determining their effectiveness. So, let’s dig into the science behind citronella candles and find out once and for all whether they live up to the hype.

Do Citronella Candles Work?

Studies have shown mixed results on citronella candles’ ability to repel mosquitoes. While some research suggests that citronella candles offer partial protection against mosquitoes (especially in less infested areas or during times of lower mosquito activity), they may not provide complete protection in highly-infested areas or during peak mosquito hours.

One study conducted by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada and published in the National Institute of Health library found that citronella candles reduced mosquito bites by about 42 percent. However, this study also noted that the protection factor was not as strong as with products that use EPA-approved repellent ingredients like DEET. 

By now you might be wondering how citronella candles actually work. Well, it’s all in the aroma, which masks human scents that are attractive to mosquitoes and makes it harder for them to locate their prey. However, Laurence Zwiebel, the chair of biological science at Vanderbilt University, tells The New York Times that mosquitoes use multiple chemical receptors to interpret the world around them, and essential oils only mask a limited number of those receptors.

So, to sum it up: While citronella candles may help a bit with those annoying mosquito bites, it’s important to be realistic about their effectiveness, especially in areas and times where mosquitoes are out in full force. To really up your game against mosquitoes, consider doubling down with some of these alternative methods.

So, What Will Keep Mosquitoes Away From Me?

  1. Mosquito repellent sprays and lotions: DEET-based or natural repellents containing ingredients like picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus offer reliable protection.
  2. Mosquito nets: Ideal for patios and outdoor sleeping areas, the best mosquito nets will provide a physical barrier against mosquitoes.
  3. Remove standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so eliminate potential breeding grounds like birdbaths, flowerpots, and clogged gutters.
  4. Plant mosquito-repellent plants: Plants like lavender, eucalyptus, and marigold are known for their ability to repel mosquitoes.
  5. Install fans: Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so using fans on patios or outdoor spaces can disrupt their flight patterns.

Insect Repellants That Actually Work

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