Do Scented Tiki Torches Really Work At Repelling Mosquitoes?

During the warmer months, it’s not uncommon to experience swarms of mosquitoes that seem to make an appearance at the worst possible time. There are various ways to combat this problem, including using tiki torches to repel the pests. But do tiki torches really work?

Tiki torches may help cut down on the number of pests in your backyard, but the idea that they get rid of mosquitoes entirely on their own is a myth. In order for your tiki torches to work effectively against mosquitoes, you need to purchase and add a citronella scent.

If you’re looking to ward off mosquitoes so that you can enjoy your backyard in peace, don’t worry. Let’s take a closer look at how tiki torches work and whether they’ll do the trick. We’ll also look at some alternative bug-repelling methods that can help you out.

What Attracts Mosquitoes to Your Yard? 

Lit tiki torch at picnic

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially during the warmer days, you’ve most likely noticed mosquitoes hanging around. In most cases, this is due to several reasons, including the presence of standing water, trash, and people and pets in general.

If you find yourself wondering why some areas tend to have more mosquitoes than others, you may want to take a look around to see what could be attracting them. In some cases, there’s nothing except pure bodily sweat that attracts these pesky little things.

Mosquitoes have the ability to smell the sweat and carbon dioxide emitted from humans and pets naturally. This means that if they’re within about 30 feet of you, they’re most likely going to swarm in your area.

Additionally, mosquitoes are attracted to any standing water near your yard and home. So, if you have a pool, dog bowl with water, flowerpots with standing water, or puddles of any kind, you may find an influx of mosquitoes.

Finally, mosquitoes are also mesmerized by trash that gives off any kind of odor. This brings them in by the droves and has them wreaking havoc on you and your family.

What Is a Scented Tiki Torch?

Most people know that a tiki torch (example on Amazon) is exactly what it sounds like: a lantern of sorts on a longish stick that is more aesthetically pleasing than anything else. There are a variety of torches that you can invest in depending on whether you want to use oils or candles.

The most common tiki torches are designed with an oil chamber that can be loaded with various oils, whether they’re scented or not. When lit, the tiki torch gives off the scent of the oil as well as a good amount of smoke during the burning process.

While tiki torches were intended to be decorative and a way to give your backyard a sense of a beach environment, the addition of a scented candle or oil can change the purpose. That’s because the scent has a way of either attracting or repelling pests.

Some scented tiki torches contain fragrant essential oils like citronella, which is widely known to repel mosquitos. Many believe that if you put this scent in your tiki torch, you will successfully rid your yard of the pests.

How Do Scented Tiki Torches Work?

It’s important to note that the tiki torch by itself is not scented in a way that would help keep pests at bay. It’s the oil or candle that sits inside of the torch that adds the scent you often smell.

Depending on the type of tiki torch you invest in, it may have a tube-like insert where you can pour various oils to create the scent you want. Other tiki torches are made to have candles placed inside, allowing you to choose the scented type.

If you have a tiki torch that uses oil, it’s just a matter of pouring in the oil and making sure that the wick is placed in it. This will allow it to ignite when you’re ready for it to burn.

On the other hand, if you have a tiki torch that uses candles, you may have to end up changing the candle more often than you would the oil. However, you also have the ease of just placing the candle inside and lighting it.

Can I Make a Scented Tiki Torch Myself?

When most people think of tiki torches, they think about bamboo sticks with lanterns on top, used to light the way. But it is important to keep in mind that with the purpose of a tiki torch being a source of light and possibly pest repellent, the designs have adapted over the years.

While you can definitely purchase a wide variety of tiki torches either at your local outdoor store or online, some people prefer creating their own version of the tiki torch. Creating your scented tiki torch can be pretty simple, depending on the materials you choose to use.

Once you take away the notion that tiki torches have to look a certain way, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety you can make. Whether you want the more traditional ones that line a walkway or pool area or are open to letting your imagination run wild, you can create your own torch at home.

The first step in making your scented tiki torch is deciding on your design and whether you’re going to use candles or oils. Once you’ve determined the type you want to make, it’s time to head to the store to purchase the necessary supplies.

Some materials used to create tiki torches are mason jars, old wine, and liquor bottles. What you use can be determined by what you have sitting around the house or garage.

Setting several mason jars around your outside area when you’re entertaining or just enjoying the backyard can create the same mood as if you were using typical tiki torches. The important thing is to find what works for you and the space you have.

Are Scented Tiki Torches Effective at Repelling Mosquitoes?

Many people swear by scented tiki torches that are set up around their backyard to repel mosquitoes. While this may be effective to some extent, tiki torches aren’t as repellant as you might think.

The truth is that scented tiki torches may not work as well as many people originally thought due to several factors. First of all, the scent of the oil or candle is only designed to go a few feet from the source before it dissipates into the air.

So, if you’re within a few feet of the scented tiki torch, you may be somewhat protected from the mosquitoes. But beyond that, you may not notice much of a difference from the tiki torch.

Because of this, scented tiki torches are best used for creating an aesthetically pleasing environment that you and your guests can enjoy. The repelling properties are an added value, but you shouldn’t expect that every mosquito will be kept at bay.

What Are the Main Ingredients in Tiki Torch Fuels?

It’s important to keep in mind that tiki torch fuels are highly flammable and should be used with the utmost care. If tiki torches are used inappropriately, you could end up with a fire that can quickly burn out of control.

The main ingredient in tiki torch fuel is a highly flammable and combustible oil that may be scented with various fragrances. The oil also contains hydrocarbons that are extremely dangerous if used incorrectly.

That’s why it’s never suggested that you use a lot of torches where pets and smaller children are playing.

You should also keep in mind that most oils like citronella come in containers that can get confused with your regular household products such as cooking oil and juices. If you use any of these oils, you should always use your best judgment and keep them away from small curious hands.

Once you’ve added your oil, it’s time to decide whether you’re going to use a scented oil or candle. Using your best judgment is necessary when you’re choosing between the different types of fuel.

The Best Tiki Torch Fuels For Your Yard

Closeup shot of tiki torch behind a field of grass and a car

When it comes to choosing the best tiki torch fuel for your yard, it comes down to your personal preferences. With so many varieties on the market, it’s sometimes difficult to decide what you want.

Here are some of the best tiki fuels for your yard:

Ner Mitzvah Citronella Oil

This citronella scented lamp oil (on Amazon) provides a smoke-free burn so that it doesn’t compromise the quality.

It’s also odorless to humans and pets and can be used to ward off certain types of odors. The great thing about this particular oil is that it’s smoke-free and can be used both indoors and outdoors, as needed.

Clean Burn Fuel

If you are looking for a tiki torch oil that doesn’t leave behind soot and other residues, look no further than Tiki Clean Burn Fuel (on Amazon).

This oil is designed to burn clean since it’s not made with a petroleum base. Instead, this fuel is plant-based, which makes it better for you and the environment.

Firefly Safe and Green Oil

For those who want variety but also oil for their tiki torch that is safe for the family and environment, Firefly Safe and Green Oil (on Amazon) may be just what you need.

This oil is not only non-toxic, but it’s also biodegradable and odorless, which means that it may not work as well for repelling mosquitoes, but it does a great job lighting up your backyard.

Tiki Bitefighter

Tiki Bitefighter (on Amazon) is one of the most popular options since it blends citronella, kerosene, and cedar oil, creating a scent that keeps even the peskiest pests at bay. While it’s said to be great at repelling mosquitos, it does produce quite a bit of smoke that may not be best if you have many guests.

It’s important to understand that this is not an exhaustive list of the different types of tiki torch fuel you can use. Many different brands and types of oils work great at fueling your tiki torch for hours on end.

Some Effective Mosquito-Repelling Alternatives

While getting rid of mosquitos is something that you most likely want to do because they’re annoying, it’s also important to understand that the bugs are a health risk. Mosquitoes are known to carry certain diseases that can make you and your family extremely ill.

Although setting up your backyard oasis sounds like a lot of fun, it may not be enough to keep the mosquitoes away for long periods. Because of this, many people find themselves searching for alternatives to using tiki torches.

Check out these alternative ways to repel extremely effective mosquitoes:


As a natural alternative to bug sprays and tiki torch fuels, there are many plants that have properties designed to repel mosquitoes and other pests. Some of these plants include lavender, marigolds, bee balm, catnip, and eucalyptus. The natural ingredients and fragrances are a deterrent to mosquitoes and many other insects.


Not only can you use these herbs in your kitchen when you are cooking up a fabulous meal, but they can also be used in your backyard to repel insects and especially mosquitoes. Some of these herbs are basil, clove, mint, rosemary, lemon balm, and several others.

Remove Any Source of Standing Water

One of the most surefire ways to rid yourself of these pesky little insects is removing the attraction of your yard. This means that if you have a body of water that is attracting mosquitoes, you can get rid of it and your mosquito issues might be gone in no time.

Air Curtains as a Repellent

If you want to cut mosquitoes out of your way for good, then you may want to consider putting up air curtains around the primary areas where you’re going to entertain.

The curtains allow the outside air to come in to keep you and your guests protected from mosquito bites.

Use a Mosquito Misting System

This is a unit that is installed in your backyard and is designed to line your flower beds or fences. The misting system is loaded with non-toxic mosquito repellent that periodically sprays the areas where you’re having the most trouble.

Try Making Luminaries With Bug Repellent Ingredients

Using various types of jars such as mason jars and wine and liquor containers can help you not only create a repellent for mosquitoes but also make your backyard look phenomenal.

To make these, you’ll need to add a bit of water that will hold various essential oils such as citronella, lavender, and others. You will also need a tea light candle to create the luminary part.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that whether you use tiki torches or one of the alternatives listed above to create the backyard of your dreams, the importance is trying to prevent mosquitoes from invading. So pick up a tiki torch, or consider making one of your own. Just be sure to grab that citronella scent. 

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