About mosquito candles
What are citronella candles?
Well, they are just like your regular candles but with one significant difference – the essential oil that it contains. They possess citronella essential oil which is lacking in the run-of-the-mill candles you might be used to. Citronella oil is obtained from the stems as well as the leaves of a lemongrass aka citronella grass plant.
And, thanks to the citronella oil these candles have mosquito repelling abilities. This is why these pesky insects avoid areas where the candle is being burnt. However, what many homeowners fail to understand is that mosquito candles require the presence of the oil to work.
Many people who complain of an ineffective citronella candle are using citronella scented candles, not candles containing the essential oil.
Ingredients used in making a citronella candle
Besides the essential oil, the materials which go into the making of a citronella candle are the same as those used in the production of your regular candles. They include a wick, the wax and the containers the candles are stored in.
How do they work?
One of the more significant benefits of citronella candles is their natural insect repelling properties. These candles produce a smell which cover-up the odor of gases and other markers that these insects are known to track and are attracted to. Chief among those are lactic acid and carbon dioxide. And, since humans produce these two substances in substantial amounts on a per-second basis, we are extremely susceptible to the parasitic activity of these insects.
But interest in citronella candles didn’t start today. A tremendous amount of research has been dedicated to finding out what there’s to know about these candles and if they are efficient. And the results have been quite revealing. Where these citronella candles are lit, limited insect activity is observed. It’s like they just stay away to avoid expending the energy necessary to fly or crawl depending on the insect type.
Are citronella candles safe?
Citronella candles do not produce any poisonous fumes. While soot may be deposited if, for instance, paraffin wax is used to make the candle, the candles generally do not cause any harm if used as stated on the label of the product. Citronella oil which is the active ingredient in these candles is not toxic or lethal to both humans and pets alike.
Chemicals such as citronellol, citronellal, and geraniol are considered the active components of the essential oil used in mosquito candles. All three of them possess insect repelling properties. This makes a strong case for the use of citronella candles in keeping insects at bay.
However, while citronella candles will repel insects like mosquitoes, they won’t kill the unwanted pests. If you’re interested in killing mosquitoes and other annoying insects then these candles certainly won’t be a good option for you.
And also, the use of citronella oil is not limited to candles alone. Some perfumes and soaps are made using this essential oil. Considering the antifungal attribute of citronellal, it’s not difficult to understand why and if they will be able to keep mosquitoes away.
Getting the best result from a citronella candle
1. Multiple candles will help
Using just one citronella candle to keep the insects at bay isn’t very effective in a larger area. If you don’t intend on staying close to that one candle, you might want to light several candles throughout the space. This increases the area protected by the scent of the citronella oil. And will increase the overall effect of the mosquito candles in a large area.
2. Check the wick length
The wick of a candle decides how fast it burns. If the visible end of the wick is rather long, cutting it to a reasonable length might be a good idea. This helps the wax melt slower reducing the combustion rate of the candle. And extending the time for how long the candle will be protecting you from mosquitoes.
How to choose the citronella candle to buy?
If you want a citronella candle for both indoor and outdoor use, make sure to check that the gaseous components released when the candle burns are not hazardous to both humans and pets.
Look out for citronella candle with sweet smelling fragrances because these types of candles, although will keep the insects away will also emit a nice aroma. And if you’re already going to be surrounded by candles to keep mosquitoes at bay, it’s much better that the air is infused with an aromatic fragrance.
Also, it is crucial that you don’t just buy a citronella scented candle. This has the same effect on insects as you just wishing they would go away. Before you make a purchase, you might want to look at the label on the product. This should provide some much-needed information about the candle. And if the candle was made using citronella oil, the label will clearly state that.
Another noteworthy factor when it comes to choosing a citronella candle is the type of wax used in the production of the candle. Like most things in life, there are several options regarding the wax utilized in making a citronella candle:
- Paraffin wax is more affordable compared to the rest. However, it burns faster than the others;
- Beeswax is a much more superior option. It burns slower which increases the duration a citronella candle can remain active. Using a beeswax citronella candle also rids the air of toxic fumes hovering around. This is possible due to the release of negative ions to which the positive ions of the unpleasant gaseous particles in the sky bond with. The result is the removal of both mosquitoes and those poisonous substances from the air;
- Soy wax is an intermediate between paraffin wax and beeswax. It burns slower than paraffin but faster than beeswax.