Do Scented Candles Keep The Bugs Away? (Choose The Right Fragrance)

When I first built my deck, the bugs were a nightmare! We couldn’t enjoy a cookout or relax at night without getting bitten. I was determined to find a way to keep them away from me and my kids without the annoying bug zapper sound or having to clean up dead bugs.

Thankfully, I found out that scented candles can help repel them. Scented candles do not harm bugs, eliminating the need to sweep up piles of dead bugs. Instead, they release a scent that naturally repels bugs because they find the scent unpleasant. 

Finding the right method for your house is key to making sure that you don’t have to deal with bugs during your next bonfire. While most companies use citronella oil to repel mosquitos, this is not the only option you have. There are several other scents that are effective and homemade options that can be more budget-friendly than store-bought items. Homeowners will also need to consider the placement to make sure that the entire area is covered by the scent.

Do Scented Candles Keep The Bugs Away

How Do Scented Candles Work?

Scented candles do more than just release a smell that bugs do not find appealing. Often, the smell is strong enough that it helps cover the odors of humans and animals. Because the mosquitos cannot smell people, they fly right by.

It’s important to note that this is always why these products are not 100% effective. Some mosquitoes look for carbon dioxide or other things when searching for their next meal, which means that the citronella scent in the air won’t help. Unfortunately, there’s no 100% effective method. Pick up some candles, and keep the bug spray handy just in case.

Scents That Keep Bugs Away

Although citronella oil does remain the most popular scent to repel mosquitos, there are several other scents that will help keep bugs away that people might find more appealing. Not all of these are available in special candles that are designed to repel bugs, but most stores do carry them in the form of scented candles or air fresheners. Wax warmers can also be used.


Lavender is a floral scent that provides several benefits. It can be relaxing, soothe a migraine and most bugs are not fond of the scent like we are. Lavender-scented candles are not hard to come by because of the many uses of it as an essential oil.


Lemon is a pleasant scent, but it does not come as readily available as lavender of citronella oil. In fact, it can be downright difficult to find scented candles that are lemon-scented. However, you can use lemon oil and homemade options to create your own. Placing lemons or lemon peels in key locations can also help.


Pine is readily available year-round, making it the go-to option for those that can’t find citronella oil or need a more permanent solution. Body spray can repel bugs while you’re out for a hike. This is not commonly sold in scented candles but can be found in automatic air fresheners, which can also work. Find the Best Pine Scented Candles here.

Different Scents Work For Different Bugs

Citronella oil is popular for keeping mosquitoes at bay, but there are plenty of other bugs that can ruin your cookout. These scents are also commonly used as bug and insect repellant.

  • Peppermint keeps ants at bay
  • Lavender also helps repel ants
  • Tea tree oil works for cockroaches
  • Lemongrass deters house flies
  • Lavender works well for ticks and fleas

Homemade Options

During summer months, it can be a bit costly to run to the store to pick up new scented candles regularly. If you enjoy the outdoors, it can seem like a never-ending task. This is where homemade options can provide some much-needed assistance. They can also be used in combination with scented candles for maximum protection. Read more about How to Make Scented Candles at Home? (Step-by-Step Instructions).

Pine Trees

The scent of pine acts as a natural bug repellant, so year-round protection can be as easy as planting pine trees. Smaller pine trees will make your yard more aesthetically appealing. Men’s body sprays also frequently smell of pine if you’re in a pinch and can’t run to the store.

DIY Essential Oil Candles

If you’re having a hard time finding bug repellant candles, making your own is a nice option. This is a great way to create lemon-scented candles if you prefer that scent as well. This website provides an exceptional recipe that is cheap, effective, and easy to use.

Plant Lemongrass

Citronella oil is naturally derived from Lemongrass, making this an exceptional option if you already appreciate the benefits that citronella oil can provide. Plant lemongrass around your deck or front porch to enjoy bug-free cookouts.

Placement Is Important

Where you place candles or home remedies and how much you use plays a large role in how effective these repellant options are.


The more plants you plant or candles you use the more effective they will be. On average, a standard bug repellent candle will repel bugs for a three-foot square area. This is not very much when considering how large most people’s porches are. Obviously, the larger the candle, the better it will work.

Homeowners that opt for homemade options can use fewer candles if the scent is stronger. This is because the stronger the scent, the more area it will cover as it slowly wafts throughout the air. This also applies to wax warmers.


If you’re using standard, store-bought candles, place them three feet apart. This will help repel bugs for the entire area covered. The reason that they need to be placed so close together is that these candles are often smaller. If you opt for larger options, such as tiki torches, they can be spaced slightly further apart.

If you choose to use homemade options that involve plants, base this on aesthetic appeal. For example, most homes that are lined with small trees or lemongrass do not have them specifically planted at three-foot intervals. If you need additional protection after you’re done planting, utilize the other methods listed.

Staying Close To The Candles Is Necessary

Bug repellant candles only work in the area that is covered by the scent. This makes it important to stay by the candles in order for them to be effective. If you move too far away, you’ll start to get bit by mosquitos. An easy way to make sure this is not a problem is by placing them in areas by yourself and other people, such as beside lounge chairs on a table.

Use A Variety Of Options

Having bug repellant candles on hand is a wonderful idea, but it’s important to consider other options as well to save both time and money. For example, planting lemongrass as well as using candles. Most homeowners also have a few lemon peels behind chairs on the deck for additional protection.

Scented candles can be effective, but only if they are used properly. If you pick up one scented candle but are standing six feet away from it, it is not going to protect you. To avoid this, utilize multiple options for full coverage, make sure that scents are strong, and use several candles when you are using them.

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Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

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