Do citronella candles keep bugs away?

I wear the bug off shirt and pants and
have had good luck.

Same thing, Outer Banks
College buddy and I drove down there for the weekend. We brought sleeping bags since we heard you can just sleep on the beach. Yah right. We finally found a spot in the dunes, and like you found, the temp never got below 80. Sweating profusely in the bag, I could hear the skeeters bangin on the outside of the bag. That bag was soaked in sweat by morning. It was not one of the better nights sleep I ever had.

But you probably had it worse. Assateague bugs are a special experience.


never worked
at least canadian mosquitoes! dont know about the american ones! I watched them actually gravitate to the candle and fly around and around and never die or be deterred.

****But if you get bit, this anti-itch works like a charm for me - been using it since a kid in northern ontario cottage country. Get a plain aspirin (make sure you tolerate it first though for whatever medical issues you may have) and add a little water, making it a rough paste and rub on the bite till it hurts and leave it on the bite. It works for me - stops the itching right away and rarely if ever comes back but i do it at the first sign with no scratching it first! try it!


check the science…

– Last Updated: Aug-27-08 11:32 AM EST –

Anecdotal reports of repellant efficacy aren't, in my opinion, that helpful. Here's a published scientific study that reports moderate benefits from citronella:

Note, however, that in Canada, MANY citronella products are clearly labelled UNSAFE for use around humans and animals. DO NOT use these citronella products since they may be hazardous.

If you wish to use a well-tested and safe alternative to citronella candles, consider DEET. It has been tested extensively, is known to be safe, and is considered by some to be the gold standard in mosquito repellency:

This report notes that there have been only 50 cases of adverse effects (mostly self-limiting) in an estimated 80 billion uses. That's less than a 1 in one billion chance.

Nonetheless, I have no doubt that no amount of scientific research will convince most consumers that DEET is fact better than citronella. They will reason that the appellation "DEET" is after all, an acronym which reminds them of scary chemicals, while "citronella" reminds them of citrus and is therefore.. natural. Since, as they believe, nature contains no chemicals whatsoever, the choice is obvious.