Tiki torches and citronella candles (the bowl version of a tiki torch) are often advertised as good mosquito repellents.  After all, why would bugs want to come near a fire? I guess moths, but they’re not harmful enough to repel.

Anyways, tiki torches are sort of effective.  Due to the release of citronella oil, which confuses mosquitoes, the presence of mosquitoes was reduced by 35.4% at 1 meter(1).  Sounds impressive, until you realize that linalool candles almost double the number(1).  

Past 1 meter, tiki torches start having almost no effect, being rendered useless past 2 meters(2).  Once you hit 3 meters, you become a prize for wandering mosquitoes.

With so many better alternatives on the market, there’s no discernible reason to use tiki torches or citronella candles unless you want to have your yard decorated.  Plus, you want mosquitoes to stay away from you while in the yard, right?  Why force yourself to sit under a fire that’s constantly releasing smoke?   

However, I can definitely recommend tiki torches for some late nights at the beach.  About all they’re useful for, though.

Where to Get Tiki Torches

  • Tiki torches may look exotic, but they’re only a click away from being yours.  You can find them on Amazon, eBay and maybe a local store near you like a grocery or home improvement store. They’re definitely not as rare as they look.  

    To sum it all up, don’t buy a tiki torch for mosquitoes.  There are much better solutions out there. Even using your bottle of Listerine can give you better results than a simple tiki torch.  Plus, they can look a little tacky.  


1 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov –  “At a distance of 1.0 m, citronella candles reduced the number of female mosquitoes caught in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traps by 35.4% and sand flies by 15.4%, linalool candles reduced female mosquitoes by 64.9% and sand flies by 48.5%,”

2 – blog.mosquito.buzz –  “Although they do keep mosquitoes away, they only do so within a 2-metre range, which is the length of your average basketballer lying down on the ground.”

Other Household Items as Mosquito Repellents

Checkout our analysis of other household items as natural mosquito repellents: