Do Citronella Candles Work for Mosquito Control?

Citronella Candle

Summer in the Lowcountry is notorious, not for its beautiful landscapes and picturesque terrain, but for the heat and humidity. The high heat and moisture concentration in the area is what many would describe as muggy. This muggy atmosphere is a perfect environment for one of the world’s most detested insects, the mosquito. Not only is the mosquito incredibly annoying, buzzing around, usually in swarms, and dolling out red, itchy bites to any nearby victim, but they are also a health risk. As carriers for serious diseases like Zika, West Nile, Yellow Fever, and more, there is plenty of reasons people all over the country invest in methods to keep them away. 

The Citronella Candle: Fact or Fiction?

One of the most popular methods of mosquito control has been the famous citronella candle. Citronella is an essential oil derived from a strain of lemon grass and has been thought to be a natural mosquito repellent for decades. It is sold in a variety of forms, the most popular being a candle, but it also comes in the shape of bracelets and tiki torches. However, there is very little evidence to support that citronella actually works. You may recall some experiences you’ve had with one of these candles and remember that it did actually keep mosquitoes away. If that is the case, it is not because of the citronella, but because of the smoke from burning the candle. While the citronella will keep mosquitos away from the area in which it is concentrated, it is not strong enough to protect a whole person or area. 

What Actually Works?

Mosquitoes interact with the world around them through multiple chemical receptors. Citronella only blocks a few of them, and not substantial enough to actually protect you from being bitten. There are over 175 species of mosquito in the United States alone, and there is a lot that scientists still don’t know about their behavior. One study tested 11 different repellents on the Aedes Aegypti species of mosquito, the usual culprit for spreading viruses like Zika and Yellow fever. They found that at a distance of one meter, DEET, a chemical found in most bug sprays, and lemon eucalyptus sprays reduced mosquito attraction by 60%, however, the rest of the products showed little to no effect in deterring mosquitoes. This leaves substantial gaps in protection from pests that are not only irritating but pose serious lifelong health risks as well. 

Other products that don’t involve a chemical repellent, like bug zappers or mosquito traps, are also not very effective. Mosquito traps, while they may trap a few here and there, just do not pose enough of a temptation to lure the mosquito away from a human. This means they are most effective when no one is around, exactly when you don’t need them to be. Bug zappers barely work on mosquitoes at all. Unlike other insects, mosquitoes aren’t attracted to light, so instead of controlling the mosquito population, they will kill other insects that pose no harm and are actually good for the ecosystem, while the mosquito continues to terrorize your space. A study at the University of Delaware found that over a 10-week period, tracking six residential bug zappers, of the 13,789 insects killed, only 31 were biting flies, including mosquitoes, which is only 0.22%.   

There are a few products on the market that are more effective at keeping these pests at bay. Wearable repellents, bug spray, are consistently the most effective. There are also smaller portable devices that will consistently release bug repellent to shield an entire area, rather than just one person, that have been proven more effective than a candle or tiki torch. Another way to protect a larger area, as mundane as it may be, is a fan. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so keeping airflow circulating makes it harder for them to fly into the area. They tend to fly lower, so placing a fan at knee level will help keep them away. 

Contact Your Local Mosquito Control Specialist 

If these statistics seem bleak in terms of actually being able to keep mosquitos off of your body and away from your yard, you’re not alone. People across the country, especially in the summer, worry about keeping mosquitoes away from them and their families and will explore a variety of methods of mosquito control. As outlined above, current products on the market that claim to be effective at keeping mosquitoes away simply aren’t. At the end of the day, the best and most effective way to keep mosquitoes from lurking around you and yours this summer is to contact a professional mosquito control specialist. 

At Palmetto Mosquito Control, we offer multiple services so that you can find which one works best for you. For a more permanent solution, we offer the installation of a mosquito misting system. Installed in your yard, working similar to a sprinkler, it will consistently release the necessary chemicals to keep mosquitos at bay all year long. Not wanting to install a permanent fixture? We also offer mosquito barrier treatments. One of our trusted technicians will be happy to come out to your home on a semi-regular basis to spray your yard and surrounding areas with our industrial repellent to keep you protected during mosquito season. If you have a larger issue than just your home, we also offer a neighborhood protection program. We are happy to service larger community areas like pools, tennis courts, golf courses, running trails, etc. that will keep your entire neighborhood shielded from the threat of mosquitos. To view all of our options for the best pest control services,  or schedule your free inspection, click here or call 1(800)-585-8019. 

As a family-owned and operated business, we understand the importance of protecting your family from harm. We are happy to be able to offer our mosquito control services to keep your home, or neighborhood, safe this season. 

What Our Employees Say:

I’ve been with Palmetto for over 5 years now and this is by far the best company I have ever been a part of. All of our branches pull together to be a team and it feels like a family here.

Amber - Greenville

What Our Customers Say:

The manner in which Palmetto Exterminators & Mosquito Control has provided in service and help is outstanding in my book. The polite and efficient manner that your company has serviced our home is OUTSTANDING and I thank you. I would not hesitate in recommending in your company to anyone, which is something I do in a very selected manner.

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