Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?
Citronella has always been touted as a cure-all for mosquito problems. Citronella oil works to repel mosquitoes by outputting a strong odor, masking their ability to locate hosts. This oil has been formulated into lotions, sprays, and more. But do citronella candles actually work to repel mosquitoes?
While citronella candles may have a brief window of effectiveness, they should not be relied upon to prevent your mosquito problem. A citronella candle will only work for an hour or two to repel mosquitoes.
What is Citronella?
Citronella oil is obtained from the leaves and grass of Cymbopogon plants. Due to how its obtained, citronella oil is a characteristic 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 Effective Are Citronella Candles?
Mosquitoes use their sense of smell to locate the natural scent humans put out. Citronella, on the other hand, works to repel mosquitoes by masking that natural scent. This is because citronella oil has such a strong scent. But just how effective is citronella to keep mosquitoes away? 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. However, citronella candles alone have been found to be strong enough to repel mosquitoes for just an hour or two.
Are Citronella Plants Good For Mosquito Prevention?
Many stores sell what they call “citronella plants”, which are usually nothing more than lemon-scented geraniums. For this reason, these plants may not be as effective as you hope for repelling 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. To effectively keep mosquitoes away, it’s important to always rely on more effective and approved methods of prevention.