Do Campfires Repel Mosquitoes?

If you’ve been camping, you know the mosquito population can get overwhelming. As dusk falls and the temperature cools, mosquitoes swarm in search of a blood meal. Many campers look for natural ways to keep these pests away; one standard method is building a campfire. But does this work? Let’s take an in-depth look at the effectiveness of campfires as a mosquito repellent.

The Science Behind Mosquito Repellents

Mosquitoes are attracted to people by carbon dioxide and lactic acid exuded from our skin. While many chemical-based repellants are available on the market, some studies suggest that smoke can act as an effective natural mosquito repellent. So it stands to reason that building a campfire would produce enough smoke to repel mosquitoes from your area.

However, a 2008 study conducted by researchers at Kansas State University found that while smoke did reduce the number of mosquitoes present in the test area, it didn’t eliminate them. The study also found that when exposed to smoke for extended periods, mosquitoes become desensitized and less responsive to its effects.

This means that if you plan on using smoke or fire as your primary method for warding off pests, it won’t be as effective over long periods—especially if there is not much wind to disperse the smoke quickly and evenly over your campsite or backyard patio area.

How To Make Your Campfire Even More Effective

If you want to make sure your campfire is working its hardest against those pesky mosquitoes, here are some tips:

1) Use wood with high resin content like cedarwood or pine—these emit more smoke than hardwoods like oak or maple, which don’t give off as much.

2) Add sagebrush or other aromatic herbs into the fire—the fragrance will help repel bugs.

3) Keep adding fuel throughout the night to maintain consistent coverage.

4) Choose an open clearing where air currents can circulate freely—this will help disperse the smoke more evenly.

5) Place citronella candles around your campsite.

6) Wear loose clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.

7) Apply insect repellent directly onto the skin before going outside.

8) Finally, keep any food stored securely in sealed containers and dispose of food waste promptly after meals.

What do you put in a campfire to keep mosquitoes away?

Summertime means camping and campfires—but it also means mosquitoes. Luckily, there are several different things you can add to your campfire that will help keep the bugs away. Whether you’re looking for something natural or something more chemical-based, here are some of the best options for keeping those pesky mosquitoes at bay.

Herbs and Essential Oils

If you’re looking for something natural and easy to find, herbs and essential oils are great. For example, Rosemary, eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender have all been known to help repel mosquitoes.

The trick is to throw them directly into the fire as they burn and release their smell into the air. This is especially helpful if you don’t want to use any chemical repellents around your campsite.

Dryer Sheets

Believe it or not, dryer sheets can be used to repel mosquitoes! Just take one dryer sheet per person in your camping party (or however many people will be sitting around the fire) and throw it directly into the fire.

As the dryer sheet burns, it emits a smell that helps keep those pesky bugs away. It might sound odd, but it works! Plus, most dryer sheets are made from all-natural ingredients, so they won’t emit harmful chemicals into the air as some other repellent products might.

Chemical Repellents

If you don’t mind using a chemical repellent around your campfire, this is also an option! Products like Off!, Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent Spray, and Repel Sportsman Insect Repellent Spray contain DEET, which has been proven effective at warding off mosquitoes in particular.

However, ensure that everyone in your group knows not to get too close to the fire, as DEET can be flammable when exposed to open flames!  


All in all, while building a campfire can help reduce the mosquito population near your camping site, it doesn’t guarantee total protection from these tiny pests. To ensure maximum protection from pesky bugs when camping outdoors, it’s essential to follow best practices such as using insect repellents and wearing proper clothing, but also provide yourself with additional defences such as citronella candles and covering up food containers properly. However, with all these precautions taken into account, you can rest assured knowing you’ll spend quality time outdoors without being disturbed by any buzzing intruders!`