Can Sweet Smelling Candles Attract Insects?

If you have lit your favourite candle scent, only to find that the sweet smell has attracted pests such as ants, mosquitoes and gnats, you are probably wondering if the sweet fragranced candles are whats welcoming these unwanted visitors?

Well, a sweet fresh scent candle can indeed attract ants due to them smelling like food, but flying bugs, are mainly attracted to the source of light from the candle as well as the carbon dioxide emitted from the candle. 

So to help you avoid the bugs and ant colonies from attacking your sweet smell candle it’s best if you choose a candle scent that repels bugs rather than attracts them, which is why we’ve created a small guide below with everything you need to know.

Are Bugs Attracted To Candles? 

As a candle lover, you might be surprised to learn that perfumed candles could attract pests, but as we mentioned above, it is little to do with scents of candles and more to do with the actual light of the candle flame and carbon dioxide which comes from it when burned.

For example, mosquitos are most attracted to the smell of sweat and carbon dioxide, so burning your candle will attract them.

For ants, the scented candles which are very sweet can trick them into thinking it’s food, which is why they can get insect attention.

Which Scented Candles Can Attract Insects? 

If you find only certain outdoor candles and indoor candles attract pests, then it might be down to the type of smell that your candle has. 

We’ve listed below the main types of candle scent that attracts these bugs down below so you can know which scents to avoid. 

  • Lavender – Lavender is a popular calming scent for many of us, but it can attract a range of insects due to the sweet flower smell. 
  • Vanilla – Vanilla is a culprit for unwanted insect guests, especially ants.
  • Honey – Honey scents attract flies as well as ants.

The Best Scented Candles To Repel Insects 

Now you know the types of scented candles to avoid if you want to keep pesky insects away you are probably interested in knowing which candles can give you a defence against pests. 

We’ve put together a list of some of the best-scented candles for pushing-off pests below.

  • Peppermint – Peppermint scented candles can give a refreshing smell to your home but also emit a strong smell to deter ants and other types of bugs.
  • Citronella – Citronella candle types release a lovely lemongrass scent and are excellent for getting rid of pesky mosquitoes due to the strong aroma.
  • Cedarwood – Cedarwood is perfect for keeping insects out of wood, so there’s no reason as to why this scent can’t work inside of candles too.
  • Herb scented candles – Some herb-scented candles such as rosemary are a natural way to have bug-repelling candles and still smell great, cloves are also excellent for dettering insects.
  • Coffee – Pests hate the smell of coffee grounds, so buying a coffee scented candle will help to deter them from your space, plus your home gets to smell like a coffee shop!
  • Cinnamon – Most people would assume cinnamon candles are sweet-scented, but this spice-infused candle scent actually can repel ants and mosquitos away from your home.

DIY Insect Repellent Candle 

If you feel like doing some DIY, or you are fed up with pests inside of your home, why not try making your insect repellent candles at home which still have a wonderful smell? 

We’ve listed three different ways to make insect-repelling candles down below. 

DIY Citronella Candle 

Equipment 

  • Wick stickers. 
  • Soy wax and beeswax. 
  • Citronella fragrance oil. 
  • Candle tins.

Method 

  1. First of all, measure out your soy wax and beeswax into an 80:20 ratio and melt the wax in a double boiler up to 185 degrees. 
  2. Next place your wick and wick sticker inside of your candle tins then add your fragrance oil into the melted wax when it has reached the right temperature. 
  3. Pour your wax into the candle tins then put a wick bar to keep the wick centred inside of the tin while it cools overnight. 
  4. Once set, trim your wick to 1/4 or 1/8 over the wax.

DIY Mosquito Repellent Candle 

Equipment 

  • Two lime and lemon slices. 
  • Two rosemary sprigs. 
  • One jar. 
  • Twelve drops of lemon eucalyptus oil.
  • One tealight or floating candle.
  • Water.

Method 

  1. To begin with place your rosemary, lemon and lime pieces into your jar and put the scented drops of oil in too. 
  2. Fill the jar up with water the add a candle and you’ve got yourself a citronella candle with no wax melting required!

DIY Peppermint Candle 

Equipment 

  • Three cups of soy candle wax. 
  • Peppermint essential oil. 
  • Candlewick. 
  • Mason jars. 
  • Microwave bowls. 

Method

  1. Simply melt your wax in a microwave bowl until fully melted the add around 10 drops of your peppermint essential oil depending on how strong you want the fragrance to be. 
  2. Place your wick in the middle of a jar with a peg to keep it centred then pour the melted wax in till it reaches at least 1/8 from the top of the wick.
  3. Light and watch the pests disappear!

Frequently Asked Questions About Sweet Scented Candles & Bugs

Are repellant candles safe to use inside? 

Although a good-quality candle with a citronella scent will unlikely cause any harm when burned inside, the strong scent can add a smell to your household materials and often can have a musty smell.

Do the scent of citronella candles get rid of mosquitos? 

Citronella candles will not get rid of mosquitos entirely but they can repel them from a certain area.

Why do ants like sweet-smelling candles? 

Ants are often attracted to sweet-smelling candles because they smell like food and sugars which ants love!

Can I make a homemade candle to get rid of bugs?

Yes, buying lemongrass and citronella essential oils and making your scented candles can help to deter pests from your home or a certain area.

Final Words 

Overall, sweet-scented candles can attract ants due to them smelling like food, but flying insects, are attracted to the type of light from the candle and carbon dioxide. 

The best way to get rid of pests when burning candles is by using scented ones with citronella or other bug repelling scents.

Published by Kirsten

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.

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