Does Citronella Repel Flies – Candles , Sprays & Incense

Wondering if Citronella can be Used to Repel and Get rid of Flies? Just How Effective is it?

In this guide you will learn:

  • How Does Citronella Repel Flies,
  • Which Type of Citronella Products are the Most Effective to get rid of flies,
  • How to use Citronella to get Rid of Flies,
  • DIY Citronella Spray Recipe.

Does Citronella Repel Flies? 

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is citronella? Citronella is an oil that comes from an Asian grass plant.

This oil can be obtained through different types of grass plants, however they are all part of the Cymbopogon family.

While citronella is an oil, it is very versatile, and works great to Repel Flies!

It can be used to create many different types of products that will repel flies including oils, sprays and incense.

The slight lemon scent of the oil is often used to repel or rid an area of flies or other insects. 

The form that you choose to purchase citronella in will depend on what your intentions are for the substance as well as your personal preferences.

1.Citronella Plant For Flies

The citronella plant refers to multiple varieties of an Asian grass plant. It is known as citronella grass but it’s scientific name is Cymbopogon Nardus.

Citronella grass is a bright green in color with reddish sections and tends to grow in patches or clumps. The grass itself can grow up to 6 feet tall!

If you are looking to repel annoying flies that keep following you, citronella grass alone will not do the trick.

Because the oil extracted from the plant is what causes flies to be repelled, you will need to release those oils first.

This can be done by crushing or smashing the Citronella grass leaves.

2.Citronella Oil for Flies

Citronella oil is the essential oil that is released from a citronella grass plant when its leaves are crushed.

It has the ability to deter flies because of its scent.

If you are using citronella oil to repel flies, you have several options.

There are many products that include this in their list of ingredients such as various pesticides. It is also used in the production of certain candles as well.

If you want something more natural, you can always rub the crushed grass leaves onto an area.

This will leave the scent from the leaves behind and work to repel flies.

3.Citronella Candles for Flies

Citronella oil is also used in candles. When you burn the candle, the scent of the oil is released into the air keeping the flies away.

When flies come near it, they are driven away almost immediately.

So, are all citronella candles the same?

Not necessarily. Some are created with a higher concentration of citronella oils than others.

That means that when burned, they will release larger amounts of the oil into the air to be more effective to get rid of flies and repel them.

Some even have multiple wicks for a quicker burning rate.

Because these candles can be quite potent, it is recommended to burn them outside the home. If you’re camping, for example, it might be a great time to bring one of these along  to keep the flies away!

Burning a citronella candle will help keep most flies away. It can also aid in reducing the amount of mosquitos in the area as well.

However, on average, burning a citronella candle will only lower mosquito and fly activity by around half.

If you are going somewhere where the mosquitos are likely to carry disease, it might be wise to choose another method of protection in addition to a candle.

Best Citronella Candles for Flies…

You can find them just about anywhere. There is a decent selection from online vendors, such as Amazon.

You can also check out your local outdoor or home goods store, like Lowe’s or Target.

If you’re looking specifically for brand names that works good for flies, try Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle or Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle. 

4.Citronella Incense for Flies

Citronella incense is another great option if you’re looking for a product to repel flies.

There are many different brands of incense that list citronella oil as an active ingredient so you have plenty of options to choose from

Similar to a citronella candle, the incense will only work to repel flies while it is burning. This is because the smell is only released during this time.

Many citronella incense brands combine it with other plant-based ingredients, such as rosemary.

Always check the label, but most citronella incenses are free from the toxic ingredients found in commercial fly repellents.

How Does Citronella Repel Flies

So how does citronella actually work to repel flies?

The citronella oil found in the grass leaves has a strong, lemony smell that flies and insects hate!

This smell is extremely unpleasant to flies and other bothersome insects and drives them away.

Additionally, the fumes hide other smells that may be more attractive to the flies.

This also helps direct them elsewhere.

Are Flies Killed By Citronella?

Flies are not killed by citronella. There are some insecticides that have a scent of citronella, however, it’s the other chemicals in them that kills the flies rather than the citronella.

Rather, citronella oil works by releasing a scent into the air.

Flies are opposed to this smell and so are repelled and driven away by it.

One of the reasons that many people reach for citronella is because they want a more natural alternative to some of the more toxic pesticides out there.

Because it comes from a plant, citronella is less harmful to flies than other products.

Types of Flies Citronella will Repel

  • Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are common to find indoors and appear when we have exposed produce that is ripening.

Fruit Flies can be effectively repelled by citronella, which can be mixed with other natural ingredients and added to an oil diffuser.

  • Black House Flies

Black House flies are your generic, run of the mill fly. You know, the ones always buzzing near the window but never seeming to find a way out.

The good news is that you can black flies out of any given area with citronella products.

  • Green Flies

Green flies are also sometimes found near or inside houses. These flies like all the dirty stuff, like garbage and feces.

Because green flies enjoy the potent smell of these items, burning citronella candles will mask the scents that they enjoy and give them less reason to come exploring.

  • Yellow Flies

Yellow flies are biters. They can be found indoors or outdoors and will often bite humans in either environment.

Yellow flies are a little harder to get rid of and while citronella might help, it is recommended to use a stronger repellent.

Citronella alone won’t give the best effect for Yellow flies.

  • White Flies

White flies can often be found in the garden, spreading diseases and causing damage to plants.

Sometimes, using a strong hose can rid you of these flies, but if you have a large number of them, try a citronella product.

White  Flies can be effectively repelled by Citronella.

  • Sand Flies

Like their name suggests, you can find sand flies in areas with a lot of sand. They are very small and brown in color.

Citronella oil works great to repel sand flies. You can also try other natural repellents, such as eucalyptus oil for Sand flies.

  • Crane Flies

Crane flies are often mistaken for mosquitos, as they have similar wing structure and build.

Like with Other Flies, Citronella products can also be used to repel Crane flies fairly effectively.

Tips for Using Citronella To Get Rid of Flies

If you are looking to get rid of flies, you can try citronella. Because citronella is an oil that is released from the leaves of a grass plant, it can be used in many different forms. Depending on your preferences, you might use a candle, a spray, or some incense.

If you are using citronella candles to repel flies, you will need to keep them burning.

The candle alone is not enough to repel them. As long as the candle is burning, the scent is released into the air and the flies will stay away.

If you are using a spray, you can count on around one to two hours of fly relief.

If you mix citronella oil with water to create a spray, it is safe to rub on your body.

However, if you are using a spray that has other ingredients in addition to citronella oil, it is safer to check the labels and instructions before doing so.

If you’re wondering whether citronella is effective in getting rid of biting flies or black flies, you can rest assured!

Biting flies do not like the smell of citronella oil so using it will repel them as well as other flies.

You can use citronella products indoors or outdoors depending on your need. However, because the scent can be pretty strong, many people choose to burn candles and incense outdoors.

DIY Citronella Fly Spray (Also Works great for Horses & Goats )

If you have goats, horses or cows chances are you are always looking for ways to keep the flies away from them.

While many people reach for brand-name pesticides or insecticides, these can actually be harmful to your farm animals,

Keep in mind that pesticides are usually a cocktail of poisonous chemicals. While they do work to kill flies, they have other side effects as well.

Your horse or goat may actually be allergic to some of these chemicals that reside in the spray.

These can cause health problems or reactions that can be avoided with a more natural citronella spray.

If you’re searching for a do-it-yourself spray to keep flies away from your horses and goats, give this one from Saddlebox a try. The ingredients are easy to find and the process is simple—mix them all together and put them in a spray bottle!

  • 1 cups White vinegar
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Spray On Sunscreen
  • 50 drops Citronella oil
  • 25 drops Lemongrass essential oil
  • 25 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap
  • 32 oz Spray bottle

Are Citronella Safe to use?

The short answer is yes, citronella is safe to use to Get rid of flies.

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that burning citronella candles does not significantly impact the environment.

Furthermore, it is not harmful to humans.

If you are using a product that has citronella oil in it for purpose of getting rid of flies, be sure to check the other ingredients as well.

Sometimes citronella is used in addition to more toxic ingredients to kill flies.

By itself, however citronella, whether used as an oil or a candle, it is safe to use.

This makes it a great alternative to commercial pesticides.

Benefits of using Citronella for Flies

One of the benefits of using citronella products to repel flies is that it is more natural than many other available fly-repellent products.

If you check the labels on many pesticides, you will find a high number of toxic ingredients.

Many common fly repellents contain chemicals that can harm the environment as well as our own bodies.

For example, permethrin is an insecticide that can often be found on the shelves and is marketed as a fly or insect repellent.

It can be harmful to us and causes reactions such as headaches or vomiting.

It can also disrupt our nose and throats by causing slight irritation. Additionally, it harms animals and other insects, like bees. 

Another man-made pesticide often used for commercial fly repellents is pyrethroids.

Exposure to pyrethroids has been linked to difficulties with the respiratory system, especially in smaller children and babies.

As a rule of thumb, it is always good practice to check the labels of pesticides and insecticides that you buy at the store.

If a product contains a warning about breathing in the fumes or avoiding any contact with skin, it may repel flies but chances are it will harm you as well.

Citronella As A Safe Alternative to Pesticides…

If you are deciding between citronella and a commercial pesticide to repel flies, the healthier option will be citronella oil.

There are many ways you can use this product and you are bound to find one that will fit your needs!