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Are citronella candles effective?

Citronella candles are some of the most commonly used DIY mosquito control products. Sharing an article on their effectiveness from mind body green (linked below). Citronella, an essential oil extracted from grasses in the Cymbopogon family, helps repel bugs largely thanks to the way it masks the scent of people. Many people surround their outdoor patios and porches with these candles in order to keep mosquitoes at bay when spending time outside. The article suggest that Citronella is less than about 50% effective, which is significantly less than other natural products such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. The article cites to a study, where candles made with citronella essential oil were able to reduce the number of mosquitoes by about 35% and sand flies by 15%. Another study found that having citronella candles or incense burning did reduce the number of mosquito bites on participants, but only by about 42% and 24%, respectively.

But there are 7 other ways to keep bugs away: Consider pairing these other strategies for keeping mosquitos away:

1.Wear loose-fitting clothing.

Starting with the basics, if you're really looking to keep bugs off of you, Russell notes it's important to wear light, loose-fitting clothing (preferably with sleeves, if weather permits).

2.Light geraniol and linalool candles.

In the aforementioned study that compared essential oils, geraniol and linalool essential oil were more effective at repelling bugs than citronella. Linalool candles were able to reduce mosquitoes by nearly 65% and sand flies by 48%, and geraniol candles reduced mosquitoes by over 80% and sand flies by just under 70%.

3.Use DEET at low concentrations.

If you're in a tropical area where mosquito-borne diseases thrive, DEET is the recommended option. One study found that, compared to citronella candles, DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus sprays reduced mosquito attraction significantly more—by up to 60%. However, the Environmental Working Group recommends limiting DEET concentrations in products to 30%.

4.Apply DIY bug spray.

If you're not looking to smell like DEET and aren't concerned about mosquito-borne diseases, check out this effective DIY bug spray that combines various essential oils to give you natural, chemical-free protection. Apply to exposed skin before entering a buggy area.

5. Sit near some bug-repelling plants.

Green thumbs, this one's for you: Certain natural insecticide plants can help deter pests. Consider adding lavender, basil, or mint to your garden.

6. Run the fans on high.

A simple solution if you're in a pinch: Turn your fan on high to blow bugs away and disperse odors, making it harder for them to smell you.

7. Stay inside during peak hours.

Mosquitoes tend to come out around dusk and dawn, so staying inside during these times can reduce your risk of exposure. Or keep these anti-itch recipes on hand too.

Or call a professional like DC Mosquito Defense. We can help.


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