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Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Citronella, a common ingredient in various repellent products, is often touted as an effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay. While citronella oil is infused into sprays, lotions, and candles, its actual effectiveness, particularly in candle form, is modest. Citronella candles can provide a temporary barrier against mosquitoes, but their protection generally lasts only a couple of hours, and their overall efficacy is limited.

A person lighting a citronella candle outside - Keep mosquitoes away from your home with Florida Pest Control in Gainesville FL

What is Citronella?

Citronella is a natural oil extracted from the leaves and stems of certain plants, giving it a distinctive yellow or brown color and a grassy, floral, and citrus scent. This essential oil is versatile, used not only as an insect repellent but also in perfumes, as a food additive, for wound healing, and as an antifungal agent. Citronella candles are particularly popular for outdoor use because they are marketed to repel a variety of insects, including mosquitoes.

Do Citronella Candles Work?

Citronella functions by obscuring the human scents that attract mosquitoes. However, its effectiveness varies. Studies suggest that citronella oil, especially when enhanced with vanillin, can extend mosquito protection up to three hours. Combining citronella with DEET can increase this duration to over six hours. Nonetheless, in their standalone form, citronella candles provide minimal protection and are not a reliable method for mosquito prevention.

Can Citronella Plants Repel Mosquitoes?

While citronella plants, often marketed as mosquito-repellent lemon-scented geraniums, are popular, they do not inherently repel mosquitoes. The mosquito-repellent properties are primarily in the oil, which needs to be released from the leaves through crushing or rubbing. Therefore, simply planting citronella is not sufficient for mosquito control. For effective mosquito management, it’s advisable to utilize proven and approved repellent methods.

Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?​ Serving Central FL, Northern FL and the Panhandle

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