Bugs aren’t only annoying, others like mosquitoes will spread dangerous diseases. To enjoy your outdoor parties or relaxation in peace, you need to find a way of keeping mosquitoes away. So, do citronella candles work?
Candles are great for setting outdoor mood but studies have shown that citronella candles does not fully work against mosquitoes. You’ll therefore need to use a more effective mosquito repellent while outdoors.
Citronella oil is extracted from various species of lemongrass for use in perfumery and insect repellent products. The oil is available in variety of applications such as candles, tiki torches, sprays and balms.
Do citronella Candles Work?
Citronella oil is approved as safe for humans and the environment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is therefore considered a low risk product to use around humans and other animals. When directly applied on skin or sprayed around or diffused in air, citronella can repel insects for a few hours.
The oil works by masking scents that are attractive to insects. Citronella candles may help in evaporating the oil but its concentration may not be sufficient enough to repel mosquitoes for a longer period of time. Some field studies have shown that using citronella candles only reduces mosquito bites by about half.
For this reason, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not include citronella products on its list of recommended mosquito repellents. Travelers to mosquito prone areas are therefore encouraged to use more effective mosquito repellent products such as DEET.
Since citronella candles has a short lived insect repelling effect, you may have to use many candles in a short period of time to gain some protection. You can also consider applying citronella oil directly on the skin or spraying for a promising result.
Other Benefits of Citronella Candles
Although not very effective at controlling mosquito bites, citronella candles come with other benefits which include the following:
- They are cheap and easy to use. You simply light the wick and let them burn as their scent is spread across your backyard to repel bugs.
- Citronella candles are very attractive. This makes them a great addition to your outdoor areas during special events like birthdays, weddings and BBQs.
- Citronella oil is nontoxic and therefore safe to use around humans and pets. However, like any other candles, they can lead to poor air quality when used indoors or in an enclosed area due to smoke they produce.
- Citronella oil comes with other health benefits including brain stimulation and muscle relaxation. However, inhaling too much essential oil can lead to allergic reactions among some people.
Natural Mosquito Repellent Alternatives
There is every reason to use essential oils and other natural insect repellents when controlling stubborn bugs in your backyard. Unlike insecticides and bug zappers that work by indiscriminately killing all insects including the important ones, natural repellents are eco-friendly, less expensive and safe to use around humans and pets. Other natural repellents for mosquitoes include the following:
1. Remove any standing water
Stagnant water always attract mosquitoes as this is where they breed from. All the standing water in your yard should be removed. This should include water collected in items such as open cans and old tires. Further, pools and other recreational waters outdoors need to be treated on a regular basis.
2. Trim overgrown vegetation
Overgrown grass, tree branches and shrubs will provide a good hiding place for mosquitoes and other bugs especially during the day. Trimming of such overgrown vegetation will discourage or reduce pest’s population in your yard as they will have nowhere to hide.
3. Install insect screens
Install bug screens around your outdoor relaxation areas and in windows and doors to your home. Bug screens have small holes that don’t allow insects to go through. Outdoor patio mosquito netting curtains is an example of a good screen that will also allow you to enjoy the breeze and view when on your patios or garden.
4. Use yellow bugs lights
While mosquitoes are not attracted to patio or porch light, using yellow bug lights will discourage other bugs from disrupting your peace. Most night flying insects get attracted to bright while light and you will see them buzzing around your porch lights in the evening.
5. Install fans
Most bugs including mosquitoes are weak flying insects that cannot withstand a strong breeze. Also as a way of cooling off your patio in hot summer, installing outdoor fans will help in discourage bugs around your patio or deck. Always direct the breeze towards dark areas where mosquitoes hide.
6. Grow plants that repel bugs
Back from ancient days of Greeks and Romans, people have been using plants to keep away insects. You can still do the same by growing plants that keep away insects. They contain essential oils and special scents that sends bugs away from an area. Examples include, mint, lemon grass, rosemary and lavender among others.
7. Encourage natural predators
Insects serve as food to most wildlife animals. Birds are popular predators to mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects. Encourage birds in your backyard by planting attractive plants, installing birdfeeders and birdbaths. By doing this, you will also benefit from free birdsongs and spectacular wildlife view.
8. Avoid outdoors in the evening
Most bugs become active in the evening. Unfortunately, this is the time most people love hosting outdoor events. You can avoid mosquito bites and stubbornness from insects by conducting your events indoors or outdoors during the day.
Candles are always used outdoors to spruce up the mood, add warmth and create a spectacular ambience. You get more than this when you use citronella candles that has the ability to keep away bugs. Like other candles, you will get them in variety of shapes and designs.