Things You'll Need
Cotton swabs (optional)
During the twilight hours of summer, when mosquitoes typically come out to feed, mosquito coils can make being outside a more pleasant experience. However, commercially manufactured mosquito coils, while effective, may contain harmful ingredients. According to a University of California, Riverside, study, these mosquito coils "often contain up to one-percent BCME, which stands for bis (cloromethyl) ether, which is a dangerous, lung-cancer causing chemical." Making your own repellent at home using citronella oil, which contains a citrus-like scent that prevents mosquitoes and other pests from locating a host on which to feed, will keep these chemicals, and mosquitoes, from ruining your good time outdoors. Although they won't be in coil form, these homemade repellents work on the same principle as commercial mosquito coils.
Apply citronella oil to the incense sticks. Since citronella oil is normally available in 1-ounce bottles, apply the oil by hand, rubbing it onto the incense sticks. A cotton swab works well if you don't want to get the oil on your fingers.
Let the incense sticks rest for 10 minutes to allow the incense to absorb the citronella oil.
Place the incense sticks into incense holders and distribute them evenly around the patio or outdoor area where mosquitoes are a problem.
Light the incense sticks, blowing out the flame once lit. When the incense sticks burn out, replace them with fresh citronella-soaked incense.
Incense sticks are available online or in stores.
Do not soak the incense sticks around an open flame. Citronella oil is a flammable oil made from dried, cultivated grasses.
- "U.S. National Library of Medicine"; Evaluation of the efficacy of 3% citronella candles and 5% citronella incense for protection against field populations of Aedes mosquitoes, Abstract; LR Linsay, et al; June 1996
- U.S. Department of Environmental Protection: Oil of Citronella Fact Sheet
- Jotman Travel: Just how Safe are Mosquito Coils?
- Mother Earth News"; Outsmarting Mosquitos; Barbara Pleasant; August/September, 2003
- 100% Pure Essential Oils: Buy Citronella Oil
- Scentsations Incense and More: Incense
Floyd Drake III
A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.