Can fire pits help with mosquitoes?

August 6, 2021

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Do fire pits repel mosquitoes? 

Answer: Absolutely! A fire pit is a great way to repel mosquitoes without having to depend on bug sprays or any other elaborate methods. With that being said, remember you need to burn wood - any other type of fire may not be that good for this job.

There's something both exciting and cozy about fire pits. Everyone gets together around it, people have a good time - and mosquitoes stay as far away as possible from it.

You can do no wrong with the right fire!

Here's the thing: even though fire pits will repel mosquitoes, the excess heat may cause certain consequences that will attract them as well.

For example, sweat attracts these flying insects (and people will sweat in front of a fire). In fact, heat itself will attract them as well.

So, yes, a nice fire pit will help you keep mosquitoes at bay - but it's not a definite solution.

Why do fire pits repel mosquitoes?

The smoke coming from a fire pit is enough to keep mosquitoes away. There's something about the smoke that mosquitoes do not like, even though nobody knows what it is or why that happens.

It's important to understand the fire itself is not doing the work. The smoke and fumes coming from the fire and hovering above it repel mosquitoes (this fact will be important later on).

There are certain plants and types of wood you can use to make the smoke even worse for mosquitoes. We'll talk about them down below.

For now, all you have to know is that smoke is the best weapon in your battle against mosquitoes.

Do you want to start a fire that will keep mosquitoes away as fast as possible? Use dry wood. It burns faster than any other alternative, creates plenty of smoke, and is easily available for you to find.

 

Will a smokeless fire help me repel mosquitoes?

The thing that keeps mosquitoes away is the smoke, not the fire. So, a smokeless fire will not prevent mosquitoes from bothering you. In fact, you will have an even larger amount of insects around you with it - because they are attracted to heat.

Now, why would you care about a smokeless fire? Well, that's the thing: certain people do not have wood to burn - and they believe a gas stove will do a fine job at keeping mosquitoes at bay.

Unfortunately, unless you're burning wood or diesel (i.e., tiki torches), you're not going to do a good job repelling mosquitoes. You may be metaphorically shooting yourself in the foot by not burning wood.

More importantly, you will be the one hosting a mosquito party if you start using gas stoves or, even worse, electric sources of heat (unless it's a zapper, you're good if that's the case).

 

Will my gas stove repel mosquitoes?

A gas burning stove will not repel mosquitoes - and, in fact, will do the opposite. When you use a gas stove, you're emitting carbon monoxide, something that mosquitoes love. That, coupled with heat and people, is a great recipe for a mosquito invasion.

Remember, the one thing that keeps mosquitoes at bay is smoke. It's not heat (on the contrary, they love it!), it's not fire, and it's not light. It's the smoke and fumes coming from burning wood or diesel.

A gas burning stove will give you none of the perks and all of the trouble. For that very reason, we recommend not to use a gas stove outdoors, at least during peak mosquito seasons.

The great thing about fire pits is that you don't need that much to start one!

You can use the gas stove at some other moment. For now, try to look for wood and figure out where you're going to have a fire pit.

Did you know mosquitoes are a real problem after hurricanes?  Learn more: Mosquitoes and Hurricanes | Mosquitoes | CDC

 

Are mosquitoes attracted to fire?

Mosquitoes are not attracted to fire itself but to heat and light. That's the reason why certain fires are better than others at repelling mosquitoes. More importantly, that's why you need plenty of smoke above your fire unless you want plenty of mosquitoes around it.

You probably are familiar with how mosquitoes are. They see an arm or a light bulb, and they attack head on.

Well, you already know that a fire could help you keep a mosquito infestation at bay, and you also know that no smoke means no solution - but do you know that, sometimes, plenty of smoke isn't going to help you at all?

That's right! We briefly mentioned it above. Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat - and you're going to sweat a lot when you're standing next to a fire pit.

And, if you're in the mood, you probably want to have a beer or two with your friends - mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of alcohol as well!

So, every once in a while, you're going to have to reinforce your fire pit. You'll find out how to do it down below.

 

What should I burn to keep mosquitoes away?

  • Pinion: The best and most efficient way of having a mosquito-repellant fire is to burn pinion wood. This type of wood is usually found in the southwest, and it's a natural mosquito repellant. For some reason, these flying insects do not like the smell or smoke that comes from burning pinion wood. For humans, burnt pinion wood releases a great aroma for everyone to enjoy (except mosquitoes) - so that's a win for us all!
  • Eucalyptus: No pinion wood? No problem! There are other, more accessible plants you can use to reinforce your fire. Eucalyptus is probably the best of them all. For some reason, mosquitoes do not like the smell of burnt eucalyptus, so you can be sure burning it will keep them at bay. The downside of burning eucalyptus is that it burns really fast, so you better prepare a handful of it to toss at the fire.
  • Sage: This plant does a great job when it comes to keeping mosquitoes as far away as possible. Throwing sage into a fire will solve most of your pest problems (as long as the fire burns). You need to use sage plants, not herbs (that is, do not use dry sage) because it's nowhere near as good.
  • Rosemary: You can use rosemary in your battle against mosquitoes if you have no sage around to burn. Rosemary and sage work the same way: you have to burn a couple of bundles of it and try not to use the dry version because it won't work the same way.

 

It goes without saying that you should only burn eucalyptus, sage, or rosemary (or any other plants that help repel mosquitoes) if you're burning wood. Throwing a big eucalyptus plant or a bundle of sage on top of a gas stove is not a good idea - in fact, it could be a recipe for disaster.


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Why isn't my fire pit keeping mosquitoes away?

Depending on where you live, you may have to deal with mosquitoes more resistant to fire and smoke than others. For that reason, you will probably need to use some extra help.

Starting a fire pit isn't the definitive solution to a mosquito invasion. Especially if you're surrounded by people and it's a hot summer night. Remember, mosquitoes love sweat (for some odd reason).

Sometimes, there'll be one too many people for smoke to work against mosquitoes.

The best way to put it is this: a fire pit will help you, but it won't solve your problem completely. You have to use a few more things if you want a definitive solution to your mosquito problem.

Do you want to know what else you can use other than a fire pit to keep mosquitoes away? Don't worry. We have you covered. Check it out down below!

Should I use something other than a fire pit to repel mosquitoes?

A fire pit is a great way to deal with mosquitoes. An even better one is to start a fire and then add other things into the mix to keep every single mosquito away from you and the people around you. From classic citronella to modern zappers, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

  • Citronella: You can either use the citronella candles or the ones that come in wristbands. Either way, this natural remedy against mosquitoes is probably the best way to keep insects away (other than a nice fire pit). Keep in mind citronella is short-lived and may work for a while, but is not a permanent solution.
  • Tiki torches: Do you feel like a citronella candle is not big enough to deal with your big mosquito problem? Well, there are bigger and better options to handle the situation. A tiki torch is filled with oil (and waiting for you to light it up) so you can repel as many mosquitoes as possible. Similar to citronella candles, they will repel nearby mosquitoes but not more than that.
  • Fans: As long as you keep them pointing away from the fire and not directly at it, an electric fan or two will help a lot when it comes to keeping mosquitoes away. And they'll help you even more if you're trying to survive a hot summer night. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to point the electric fan away from the fire - lest you want uncontrollable flames right in your face.
  • Repellants: Chemical repellants (bug spray) are far from a natural way of fighting against mosquitoes, but they do a fine job at it. There's only one thing you need to keep in mind when you're using chemical repellants: some of them are flammable. So, try to spray it on you far away from the fire and then join your friends at the fire pit.
  • Zappers: Electric zappers are a great way to deal with the defiant mosquitoes that dare to hover above a fire pit. And they are not too complicated to use either: you simply plug it in and let it do its job: kill mosquitoes. The light will attract these insects and the electric shock will deal with them.

You can also put in a little work before you start the fire:

  • Clean the area: Messy places attract mosquitoes, and the outdoors tend to be one of the messiest places of them all. If you clean the place up before you start a fire, you'll definitely notice a difference. Remove plastic bags, water containers, and anything that belongs in the trash. Most campsites have a cleaning policy, but some people simply do not care about that - and that's where mosquitoes thrive.
  • Fix your yard: If mosquitoes are attacking you right at home, you need to preemptively deal with that. Do the same as above: clean around. You need to take care of your pool, random buckets, birdfeeders if you haven't in a while (mosquitoes reproduce in standing water). Other than that, mow your lawn - mosquitoes love tall grass. A clean yard is a mosquito-free yard.
  • Relocate: Sometimes, no matter what you do, mosquitoes will keep going at it. You can use more permanent solutions if you're in your backyard; for other scenarios (like driving around in your camper), you can simply relocate to a place with fewer mosquitoes. You may have parked in a mosquito-infested area - and the best way to fix your problem is to pack up and drive five miles down the road.

What is the best kind of fire to repel mosquitoes?

There are only two options you can use if you want to repel mosquitoes: burning wood or burning diesel. Any other alternative is smokeless and will bring more trouble than it's worth. Wood is the better option because of how easy it is to get and how safe it is to use.

Remember, gas stoves and electric heaters are not good at repelling mosquitoes (or other bugs for that matter). In fact, you'll probably attract even more of them by starting your gas burning stove!

What you need is smoke and lots of it. That's why we highly recommend a fire pit over any other alternative. Of course, if you can mix things up (i.e., a fire pit plus citronella candles or tiki torches), that's even better.

Then again, if you have to choose only one option, burning wood is the way to go. And, as you now know, burning pinion wood is the best way to do that!

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Will my fire pit attract bugs?

A fire pit will help you repel bugs the same way it does with mosquitoes, especially with flying bugs and similar insects. That's not to say a fire pit will repel every bug in a one mile radius - but it definitely helps.

Keep in mind the same rules apply to bugs than it does to mosquitoes: you need to burn wood or diesel for this method to work. You're not going to do much (if anything, you'll hurt your chances to repel them) if you use electric heaters or gas stoves.

There's a small caveat when it comes to fire and bugs, though: even though mosquitoes do hate the smoke (and some bugs do as well), certain bugs and insects simply do not care at all about it.

Simply put, it doesn't matter how big and bad your fire is - you will not repel everything on sight. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use your fire pit to repel most pests, though!

There's a bigger chance to repel flying bugs than it is to repel crawling bugs when it comes to fire pits - but at least the ones coming from below won't bother you as much.

Fire Pit on Beach

 

How can I deal with mosquitoes and bugs outdoors?

The best way to deal with pests is attacking them head-on. Start a fire pit, light a couple of citronella candles, and use bug spray to have multiple layers of defense against insects and bugs.

You know everything you need to know if you have reached this far.

The minute you step outside, you have to gather wood for a great fire pit (and put your gas stove back in storage for now).

You also know you have to get a eucalyptus plant (or two) ready. You can double the efforts with a little sage or rosemary.

Then, place a citronella candle nearby (and if you have a table to put it on, even better!). Remember, citronella will help you on a close range basis only.

Other than that, consider using bug spray to fend off the brave mosquitoes that do not care about fire pits and citronella. Put every barrier up to defend yourself from a mosquito attack!

As a final note, consider relocating. It probably is the last card you want to play, but it could be the game changer.

Drive or walk for a couple of miles, start a new fire pit, and enjoy your evening - far away from mosquitoes, bugs, and any other pests that were bothering you five minutes ago.

 

Here are a couple other good reads!

Trying to decide between a wood stove and a fireplace? Wood Stove vs Fireplace - In Depth Guide - ZeusFire (zeusfires.com)

Want to learn how to cook over a fire pit? A Detailed Guide on Cooking Over a Fire Pit - ZeusFire (zeusfires.com)

Find out how wood stoves impact the environment: Can Wood Stoves Impact The Environment? - ZeusFire (zeusfires.com)

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