Do Citronella Candles Repel Flies?

Does citronella repel flies? Why candles may be a waste of time. Nothing beats a summer day after a gloomy winter. Summer means enjoying outdoors.

Unfortunately, the warm summer months attract flies, and not just a few flies – the humidity attract numerous insects. And if you love spending time outdoors, this can be such a huge problem.

Are Flies Dangerous to Health?

Flies are more than just annoying little insects. They can also pose a serious threat to your health. For one thing, flies are known to spread diseases. A fly can pick up viruses and bacteria on its legs and then transfer them to humans when it lands on food or skin.

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In fact, some research has shown that fly saliva may even contain harmful toxins that can cause infections. What’s more, a fly can also carry other parasites, like worms, which can infect both humans and animals.

In addition to all of this, flies are also known for causing food poisoning. When a fly land on food, it can contaminate the food with bacteria, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. So next time you see a fly buzzing around, be sure to give it a wide berth!

What Attracts Flies?

Flies are attracted to certain things because of the way their senses work. These insects senses carbon dioxide, which is what we exhale.

A fly is also attracted to heat and movement as well as certain compounds that are often found in rotting food. These compounds are called esters, and they smells like overripe fruit to flies. Flies are also attracted to trash and dead animals.

This is why common house flies can cause dysentery or food poisoning because they do feed on feces and rotting food.

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How Do You Get Rid of Flies? Drive Flies Away?

There are a few things you can do to repel flies. You can try using flypaper or traps, which will capture the flies so they can’t bother you anymore.

Try to create your own fly trap, and make your own fly bait, which is a mix of sugar water. You can use this to attract flies and trap these flies in your DIY trap.

Consider using a fan or keeping your windows open to create a breeze that will discourage flies from landing. Finally, you can use chemical repellents like citronella candles or sprays. Just be careful not to use anything too strong, or you’ll end up attracting more pests!

Keeping Mosquitoes and Flies Away with a Citronella Product

Summer also mean flies and mosquitoes. This usually drives you to look for solutions to get rid of them safely. One of the names you hear often is citronella candles. So, what are they, and do they repel flies?

Citronella is a great fly repellent, and it is quite effective when it comes to keeping flies away from your home. Let’s have a closer look at citronella and how it works. As well as answer questions on that topic.

What Is Citronella Oil?

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First, you should know what citronella is, and how it repel flies. It will help you understand what kind of bait would also help attract flies.

Citronella is an oil that comes from lemongrass or citronella grass, and is basically a lemongrass essential oil. It leaves a strong lemony smell that insects like flies and mosquitoes seriously hate!

Like eucalyptus oil, citronella can repel flies effectively. It can also kill flies and other insects.

It’s used in soaps, incense, candles, perfumes and cosmetics, and has a wide variety of benefits. Burning citronella candles is quite effective in repelling insects like annoying flies and biting flies.

Citronella Oil Works Against Fruit Flies

This plant repel flies, but not just a few flies – a lot of flies. Citronella oil is a combination of ingredients, which all help in repelling flies. The most notable, citronellol, citronellal, geraniol, geranyl acetate, and limonene. While the combination of these differ, they give similar results.

The EPA mentions that the oil has been registered for use as a plant-based repellent since 1948. They consider it a biopesticide, because it uses a non-toxic mechanism. It is one of the best natural repellents against sand flies, white flies, and most flies.

Citronella oil masks the scents that attract insects like fruit flies and house flies. This helps the grass to protect, and mask itself from pest attacks. This is why it can get rid of flies.

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Pesky Flies Repelling Effect

According to studies on citronella oil, it has many benefits. A journal about malaria mentioned that people have used citronella plants to deter mosquitoes.

While it’s effective for mosquitoes, citronella oil is beneficial in driving other insects away, including house flies. It is quite effective when you want to deter flies.

Another review from 2011 assessed it’s effectiveness. The results show that using citronella with other oils can provide protection for up to 3 hours. It is the most effective way to repel flies, sand flies, and other bugs.

Yes, citronella extracts do not kill flies, but they can get rid of flies because they repel flies.

Citronella Plant: Insect Repellents

Citronella is one of the most common effective fly repellent and pest control oils in the market. In addition to being a natural insect repellent, it also carries some extra perks.

Now that you know citronella oil repels house flies, it’s time to find out about candles.

First, you should know how they are made. Scented candles are made of 3 main ingredients. These components are the wax, essential oil, and the wick.

The manufacturers add the oil and molten candle wax to spread it evenly across the candle. After that, they immerse the wick where you heat the wax, releasing the oil used.

Based on this process, it releases the citronella oil into the air to spread the scent. The smell is a most effective way of masking other smells that attract flies.

This method is just as effective as other methods to repel flies like using bug spray, but of course, not as simple as using a simple fly curtain.

does citronella repel flies

Pest Control Review of Citronella Grass Oil and Citronella Products

Remember the 2011 review that compared various methods of citronella oil? This study shows that citronella is highly volatile on its own. And this makes it effective for a couple of hours at best.

Based on this, you can guess that quickly evaporating oil might not be an excellent choice for candles. The heat produced from the candle speeds up the evaporation process. This could lessen the effect.

They found that using citronella oil in candles is half as effective as when it’s applied as an oil. They recommend travelers to malaria-endemic areas not rely on citronella alone. While it is a capable essential oil, it needs decent concentration to get the job done.

The problem is, a lot of candle manufacturers add as little citronella as possible to produce the scent. That’s why a lot of people are being tricked into believing that citronella doesn’t actually work at all.


Aside from helping you rid your home of flies, flying bugs, and other insects, here are all the benefits you’ll get by opting for a citronella candle.

Non-Toxic to Adults

Although they are quite effective if you want to repel flies, the smells of citronella candles are not toxic to humans. But they can definitely drive flies away from your home.

It is not like a spray bottle that is packed with fly chemical repellents or other chemicals with noxious smell. However, albeit readily available in your garden, citronella is still toxic for ingestion, and you shouldn’t get it directly in your eyes.

However, there are some people who actually purchase special type of citronella spray or oil that they can apply on their skin. This may repel flies, but the downside is that you will need to apply it frequently onto your skin.


While shopping for citronella candles, you’ll find that they’re pretty affordable. Spending time doing some online shopping will help you find the best citronella candles for your home. Perhaps, you can find ones without strong smell or chemical-like scent.

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Here are some of the most popular:

YIH Citronella Candles

YIH Citronella Candles,Wax Bucket Candle Seaside Escape 16-Pack
  • 2-Oz. Citronella Wax bucket
  • Burns up to 15 hours
  • Natural flame provides light and ambience

HITHYS Citronella Candles

Citronella Candle Outdoor and Indoor, Large Portable Travel Tin Pure Soy Wax 3 Multiple-Wick Scented Candle
  • Citronella Candle: A classic scent combines a top note of green citrus with a bottom note of fresh clean fragrance
  • Long Lasting Candle: Each candle measures 4.2" W x 2" H and evenly burns approximately 45 hours
  • 100% Soy Candle: Made of pure soy wax & lead-free single cotton wick, handmake, biodegradable, produce no black smoke & create a clean burn

Coleman Scented Citronella Candle

Coleman Scented Tin Citronella Candle - 3 Pack, S'Mores, Pine and Campfire
  • One 3 count package of Coleman Scented Tin Citronella Candle
  • Outdoor candles with crackle wood wicks make a crackling fire sound
  • Three scents include pine, s'mores and campfire to add a pleasant smell
Hyoola Tealight Citronella Candles - Anti Mosquito Candle - 4 Hour Burn - 50 Pack - DEET Free
  • NATURALLY SCENTED CANDLES: Made with real natural citronella plant. Deet Free.
  • LONG LASTING: Each citronella candle has an approximate 4 hour burn time.
  • EFFECT: Use several tea lights Candles to maximize mosquito repellent effect.

Other Benefits

As you already know, citronella isn’t only a natural insect repellent. It doesn’t contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans. You can also readily plant and find them in your garden.

They have a fruity and grassy scent that a lot of people love. In addition to repelling flies, they provide you with a sense of calm and help reduce stress.


Not the Most Effective Form

As you know, candles have a very low amount of citronella. This means that candles are the less ideal method.

You may need to use multiple citronella candles to have a decent amount of the essential oil in the air, so this defeats the purpose if you’re opting for citronella due to low cost.

Highly Volatile

One of the issues of citronella oil is that it’s highly volatile. It evaporates quickly, so you’ll need to apply it every 2 or 3 hours.

Not Trusted by all Organizations

When it comes to essential oils, not all organizations have enough evidence to rely on them.

For example, the U.S. Center for Disease Control is yet to include any of the citronella products on their list of recommended mosquito repellants. This is due to lack of evidence on their efficiency.

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Can Be Contradicted

It’s a nontoxic and natural repellent, but it isn’t recommended for some people and pets.

According to a report by the National Pesticide Information Center, children can be sensitive to insect repellants, even nontoxic. That’s why it’s not recommended for children under 6 months.

And while it is safe to inhale, lemongrass can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. This means that citronella oil can be dangerous if you have pets, so always make sure they don’t have access.

There isn’t enough information on inhaling citronella during pregnancy, so it’s generally avoided.

Do Candles Get Rid of Gnats?

Candles can be used to help keep flies and gnats away. Fungus gnats are pesky insects that can be found in damp soil and near decaying organic matter. To get rid of them, try using a candle made with citronella oil or another insect-repelling scent such as eucalyptus or lemongrass.

Apple cider vinegar and dish soap can also be used to make a homemade fly repellent that can help keep gnats away. However, candles are the most efficient and economical way of keeping these insects at bay. With the right ingredients, they can provide an effective and natural way of controlling gnat populations in your home or garden.

Wrap Up

There you have it. A complete guide with all you need to know. So, do citronella candles work?

Reports have mixed results, but people swear by it for repelling insects and driving flies away from your home.

Try It Just Once

It’s recommended that you try this at least once, and then make your final decision. If you’re looking for the most guaranteed insect repellent citronella candle, consider Cutter 95784 Citronella Candle.

This one is backed by reports that believe it is the best repellent. So, if you want a natural alternative to repel or drive flies away, you might want purchase citronella products like oils and candles that would work for your home.

Cutter Citronella Candle, 1 pack, Copper
  • Effective deck & patio area repellent: Repels mosquitoes and other flying insects.
  • Made with real citronella oil: Triple-wick, 20-ounce candle burns for up to 40 hours.
  • Perimeter of protection: Use several Cutter Citro guard candles to maximize the repellent barrier.
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