Citronella candles are said to repel flies and other bugs. Sitting in your garden for a meal or a drink is one of life’s great pleasures. One major obstacle however, especially in the summer, is bugs. Attracted by the scents of food, wine and people, buzzing midges and mosquitoes really are a complete pain. Quite literally, too, as many of them also bite.
Citronella could be just the thing you need for a bug-free garden this year. If you’re planning a summer garden party then they will help your guests feel more comfortable too.
What are citronella candles?
Citronella candles are ordinary candles with the extra addition of citronella oil. This oil comes from a particular species of lemongrass. The oil is sometimes also used in cooking.
When the candles are burned, the aroma of the citronella oil is released. This is said to mask the other smells that attract pesky flies and other bugs. Because of this, they are less attracted to the area where the candles are. This in effect works as a repellent.
Do citronella candles work?
There are mixed opinions over whether citronella garden candles work or not. Some claim that the amount of citronella oil emanating from a small candle is not enough to effectively cloak the smells that attract flying pests. Other people swear by them (myself included). There is only one way for you to make up your mind really, and that’s to try them out for yourself.
Can you put citronella candles indoors?
It’s only advised that you use candles containing citronella outdoors. All manufacturers will include this warning on their products. Reportedly, the candles produce a more than average level of soot, and the oil is also potentially an irritant. They should therefore only be used as garden candles.
Choosing what to buy for your garden
Tea lights can be placed easily around a garden table and are unobtrusive. These citronella tea lights from Bolsius add a twist to ordinary fly repellent candles by combining citronella oil with lemon, basil, rosemary and tomato leaf. They come in pretty colours and have a wonderfully herby scent.
If you prefer plain citronella in your tea lights, there are very affordable multipacks on Amazon.
You can use ordinary tea light holders with a wind shield. However as they are being used outside it’s recommended to use a tea light holder with a heavy base which won’t get blown over by the wind. Something with a concrete base like this is ideal.
Citronella lamp oil:
You can also buy citronella oil in a lamp oil version which can be burned in standard oil lamps. Large oil lanterns can be placed strategically around your garden, such as alongside garden paths. A citronella oil burner will light the way as well as deter flies.
You can also get larger candles in a pillar design. These will have a longer burn time, and should be placed in outdoor storm lanterns to protect the flame. They will last longer than a tea light.
Some citronella garden candles come poured into glass jars so are immediately ready for use outside. These won’t blow over either, but cannot necessarily be refilled with new candles when these burn down.
Citronella candles are a garden essential to avoid the irritation of mosquitoes and other buzzing pests. Try some in your garden this year and see if they make a difference to your enjoyment of the outdoors.
If you do happen to get bitten, make sure you have a Zap It on hand for instant relief from the bite.