Pool parties, burgers grilling, blooming gardens, longer days, and warm breezy evenings--ahh, it's summertime. And with it comes….BUGS.
And not just any bugs. The biting, pesky, mosquito kind.
There's nothing more frustrating than waiting for those long summer days to get outside and enjoy the weather only to be met with swarms of unrelenting mosquitoes.
If you're like most backyard fanatics, you know exactly what to do--start lighting your citronella candles!
But you may be wondering…
Do citronella candles really work?
Here at Patio Essentials, we don’t just make claims about our products being effective so that we can sell more products. We are committed to testing our candles, torches, and essential oils to make sure they work as intended. After all, it's mosquito season here in our home base of Minnesota as well, and we want (NEED!) products that work too!
That’s why we like to rely on our old friend, science.
We hired an independent, professional product testing lab that specializes in measuring mosquito repellency to test our newest candle formula. (Actually, this isn’t our first time using this lab. We’ve tested other products too, like our AquaFlame Fountains with our high-purity citronella essential oil as well as our Scatterbug Torch Fuel!)
Our newest candle formula is a blend with 3% natural citronella oil and 3% natural lemongrass oil that release a bright, refreshing scent when they’re lit.
Why citronella and lemongrass oils?
Because we know that citronella isn't the only natural ingredient that helps keep mosquitoes away. Lemongrass is actually pretty great for that too. So why not combine the two to create a new, vibrant scent with increased potency? Once we had the new formula perfected, we sent it off to the lab to test it to see if this new blend actually was more effective at keeping mosquitoes away.
But now you may be wondering, how can a lab test repellency and track teeny, tiny mosquitos?!
For starters, it involves a contraption called a Mosquito Magnet.
And no, we’re not talking about human bait, so don't submit applications on behalf of your boss or ex-boyfriend, please!
A mosquito magnet is a large, electrical-powered machine that emits heat, moisture, CO2 (like what we humans breathe out), and attractants to lure mosquitoes. In the test, the mosquito magnets represent us, the innocent humans, lounging outside in our back yard. As mosquitos fly close to investigate, they’re sucked inside the trap so that the lab can keep track of mosquito landings.
Researchers then put two of these machines in a large room--one on the left, and one on the right. They then surrounded one of the mosquito magnets with four candles with our new citronella and lemongrass formula, creating a barrier of protection around the mosquito magnet. The candles were then lit for 40 minutes prior to introducing mosquitos (which becomes an important note for later).
Then the scientist released 175 mosquitos into the room.
"RELEASE THE MOSQUITOS!" -very brainy scientist in a white lab coat.
After 4 hours of a free-for-all mosquito frenzy, the two traps from the Mosquito Magnets were removed and the mosquitoes inside were counted.
Essentially, the more mosquitos that were trapped meant more mosquitos were flying near the human mechanical bait!
The lab then repeated this test 4 times and averaged the results to get a final number.
There was an average of 69 mosquitoes caught in the untreated control trap--YIKES!
And only an average of 27 mosquitoes caught in the trap surrounded by our Citronella Lemongrass Blended Candles.
This equates to a repellency of 60% for our Citronella & Lemongrass Candles.
The science here doesn’t lie-- this was a significant reduction in mosquitoes without the use of chemical foggers or (smelly) DEET sprays.
The test proves that our Citronella & Lemongrass Candles are indeed a potent, more natural way to reduce mosquitoes.
On an important note, as mentioned earlier, during the test they lit the candles 40 minutes prior to releasing the mosquitoes. This is because the candle wax needs time to melt in order to release the scent of the oils into the before they become effective. So make sure to light your candles before your guests arrive for your outdoor gathering!
So, does this answer the final question of "Do citronella candles really work?"
We think so!
In fact, once we saw these test results, our Product Development team set out to find some new fun and stylish vessels for this powerful new candle formula.
For best results, we recommend using multiple candles and torches, spaced 18-36 inches apart, around the perimeter of your outdoor space or within three feet of where people will gather. This is what we like to call a barrier of protection and replicates the conditions of the testing set up.And with so many different style options to choose from with our citronella candles and torches, you can add a whole new level of style and ambiance to your outdoor living space, without the mosquitoes.