If you’ve ever searched for ways to repel mosquitoes, then you’ve probably heard of mosquito coils. So, let’s learn a bit more about them, including if they’re actually an effective mosquito repellent.
A mosquito coil is essentially a type of incense, just like the ones used in aromatherapy and different religious rituals. What makes this one special is that it comes in a coil shape (hence the name) and repels mosquitoes.
Mosquito Coil Ingredients
Mosquito coils were once made from dried pyrethrum paste.
Today, they’re typically made of pyrethroid insecticides and/or plant-based repellents (e.g., citronella). When burned, these substances give off a specific smell that repels mosquitoes.
Coils that contain insecticides may even kill mosquitoes that fly too close.
The Invention of Mosquito Coils
The use of mosquito coils as a method of repelling mosquitoes began in the last decade of the 19th century. A Japanese couple, Eiichiro and Yuki Ueyama, invented the first mosquito coil. They began by simply burning sticks made of pyrethrum powder and starch, but these sticks lasted less than an hour.
They came up with the spiral shape in 1895, which allowed the sticks to be longer. Early mosquito coils were handmade. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that it became possible to manufacture them with machines. They’re still used throughout Asia as the primary method of mosquito control.
How to Use a Mosquito Coil
To use a mosquito coil, attach the center of the coil to a metal stand and ignite the outer end of the spiral. Thanks to the mosquito coil’s ingredients, it’ll slowly smolder. This allows it to give off smoke and a scent that will repel mosquitoes and keep you mosquito-free for about eight hours.
Never mount the mosquito coil on something flammable. You also must not use it or leave it alone around flammable materials.
Mosquito Coil Effectiveness
Mosquito coils are effective at deterring mosquitoes and reducing mosquito bites. However, just because they’re effective doesn’t mean that they’re safe.
Since the coils produce smoke, you should only use them outdoors or in spaces with great ventilation to prevent smoke inhalation.
One study concluded that the particulates in the smoke from a single mosquito coil can be equal to those from 75–137 cigarettes. You must also keep in mind that different manufacturers use different ingredients to produce their products. Some mosquito coils even have active substances that are very toxic and can cause illness.
These facts make us feel the need to rethink the use of mosquito coils as a mosquito repellent. There are other, safer options out there to fight these buzzing insects, such as mosquito nets and mosquito repellent sprays.