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In the heat of summer, there's nothing better than sitting out on the terrace or in the garden for a night of relaxation, or ventilating your home through a wide open window. However, these activities often attract the attention of unwanted visitors. We've all had our evening parties interrupted by bugs, but it's also common for a mosquito trapped in one of our rooms to be unable to find a way out. In such cases, we can turn to the usual insecticides, but we can also prevent the problem by lighting a candle that repels the bugs. The latter solution has the advantage of being completely natural.
So let's take a look at the best candles to keep bugs away!
You can make your candles bug repellent by adding some essential oils or extracts that release substances that insects find repellent when burnt.
The most common of these natural substances are: citronella, neem, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, pine oil, lavender oil and lemon eucalyptus extract.
Citronella - Most common & Popular
Neem - Natural Pesticide & Calming
Peppermint - Keeps Bugs & Mice Away
Lemongrass - Actually Stronger Than Citronella
Pine - Uplifting Smell But Not as Good a Bug Repellent
Lavender - Flies & Moths Hate It, Also Commonly Available
Lemon Eucalyptus - Good For Keeping Mosquitoes Away
Some research suggests that catnip can also repel mosquitoes, but not all of the tests that have been carried out confirm this. Vanilla extract can also be a good insect repellent, however not on its own, but mixed with some other natural essential oil in the right proportion, so that the original insect repellent effect is enhanced.
Citronella is the most common herbal extract used for its bug repellent effects. Citronella (not to be confused with lemongrass) is a herb that has a long history of use as a bug repellent. It is the extract from which most commercially available candles advertised as insect repellents are made. When buying a candle infused with citronella, it is always worth paying attention to the wax from which the candle is made: the higher the melting point of the material, the more effective it will be in dispersing insect-repellent fragrances. For this reason, most citronella candles are made from paraffin wax, which has a relatively high melting point and, although its adverse health effects have not been scientifically proven, its harmful effects on the environment are undeniable. For this reason, a candle made from natural wax or a natural candle "flavoured" with citronella extract can be a good alternative.
Our top pick from amazon is this citronella candle:
Neem is a natural pesticide made from the seeds of a tree native to the Indian subcontinent. Today it is not only used for insect repellent purposes, but is also used in toothpastes, cosmetics, soaps and pet shampoos. In addition to keeping insects away, candles infused with neem extract have a calming effect on us through their scent. The popularity of these candles in America and Europe is far behind that of citronella candles, as the herb that is the raw material for the latter is much more readily available in these areas than neem. Today, most neem oil candles are combined with some other insecticidal essential oil, most often citronella, to maximize the effect.
Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of the herb and has been used for thousands of years to control pests. Its strong mentholated scent not only keeps bugs away, but rodents too: research has shown that peppermint's strong mentholated smell irritates the mucous membranes of mice, so they try to avoid areas where this smell lingers.
A peppermint infused candle is not only a bug repellent but also has aroma therapeutic properties. Its pleasant mentholated scent makes it a good choice for those who dislike the distinctive citrusy scent of citronella and lemongrass.
The Peppermint & Eucalyptus Candle by Octō is refreshing and minty, a real pick-me-up scent and a great way to start a day or for those spa days.
This one really packs a punch the combination of eucalyptus & peppermint is great for keeping the bug s away as well as being all natural.
Lemongrass grows in Cambodia, Vietnam and in Thailand, in addition to the rain-fed areas of Southern India. In these areas it is an essential spice in local cuisine. The refreshing, soothing oil is extracted from the stems and leaves of the plant. It is often confused with citronella because of their similar appearance and main uses, but it is worth noting that lemongrass has a much stronger bug repellent effect than citronella.
Pine oil is another lesser-known essential oil that repels insects and can be added to candles. Although it’s effect to keep insects away is weaker than that of citronella and lemongrass, it is still worth considering to choose this, because unlike with the Far Eastern herbs, it can be produced in North America and Europe, so the transport route will be much shorter, which reduces our carbon footprint.
Lavender oil is an excellent choice for repelling insects. Not only do mosquitoes not like it, but flies and moths won't go near it. Lavender oil is not only inexpensive, it is also readily available. As it is used as a fragrance in a wide variety of products, lavender extract can be found in most shops. The soothing scent of lavender helps to relax and relieve stress.
Our own Lavender & Chamomile candle is great for creating a calming environment as well as helping keep the flies away.
The lemon eucalyptus (or lemon-scented eucalyptus, also known as Vietnamese eucalyptus) is a fast-growing evergreen tree from Australia. The essential oil made from the leaves of the plant is excellent for keeping flies, mosquitoes and mites away. Apart from sometimes being difficult to obtain, one of the main disadvantages of lemon eucalyptus extract is that it attracts bees. For this reason, using candles scented with this oil is not the best idea for a garden barbecue. It is much better to use the pleasantly scented extract in an urban environment where mosquitoes are present but bees are absent.
As you can see from the list, you can "spice up" your candles with a wide variety of essential oils and extracts if your aim is to keep bugs away. However, it should always be borne in mind that such candles are not panaceas: even when burned for long periods, they will only have a beneficial effect within a few meters.
Which oil you choose is largely a matter of preference and taste, but the cheapest and most effective are lemongrass and citronella.