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Make Campfire Memories Without Mosquitoes

A bonfire outside at night next to trees and strong lights.

Bonfires are perfect for making outdoor gatherings more relaxing. While the fire’s smoke and heat may keep you warm and keep some bugs away, the fire’s light and the carbon dioxide emitted from people sitting around the fire also attract bothersome bugs!

Thankfully, there are several effective ways to deter mosquitoes from fire pits.

Do Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Yes, fire pits help keep some mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes avoid the smoke and heat because they are sensitive to hot temperatures and the smoke can make it harder for them to fly. The smoke’s scent (from naturally released chemicals) also makes it difficult for mosquitoes to track smells and carbon dioxide; they rely on those senses to find their next bite.

While campfires might temporarily discourage mosquitoes in the immediate vicinity, having a fire isn’t a foolproof method of mosquito control, especially if there are so many people at your gathering that they can’t all sit close to the flames. Mosquitoes can return once the fire subsides or if there are still suitable breeding and resting sites nearby.

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from a Bonfire

If you're looking for effective and lasting mosquito control around your campfire, consider implementing a combination of strategies. Stay away from standing water where mosquitoes breed, introduce smells mosquitoes dislike, and wear proper clothing.

Check out these campfire mosquito repellent methods:

  1. Choose the right location—Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, damp areas, and dense vegetation. Look for a dry, breezy, open spot for your fire. If your backyard fire pit is in an area with dense shrubbery and overhanging tree branches, consider getting tree trimming and pruning services from Monster Tree Service to make your space less mosquito-friendly.
  2. Consider the timing—Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk. Consider planning your bonfire for earlier in the evening so you can enjoy the firelight without being bothered by mosquitoes.

If you can, have your fire on a slightly windy day, as mosquitoes find it difficult to fly in windy conditions. Just be sure it’s not so windy that your fire could blow out of control!

  1. Get a barrier treatment spray—Preparing your space with a professional barrier treatment spray prior to your bonfire is a great way to eliminate mosquitoes from the area. Mosquito Squad’s mosquito control treatments last for up to 21 days because our professionals target the areas where mosquitoes thrive and breed.
  2. Use natural scents—Incorporate natural mosquito repellent scents around your bonfire. Place citronella candles near your fire. You can also place bowls of other scents mosquitoes don’t like, including crushed garlic, rosemary, or lavender.
  3. Burn the right stuff—Just as you can use candles and fresh herbs to discourage bugs, you can also burn certain plant-based materials to increase the pervasiveness of those scents. This also improves the ambiance for the humans! We have more tips for what to burn later in this article.
  4. Put on proper clothing—Wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing to reduce your exposure to mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are generally attracted to dark colors, so avoid wearing those.
  5. Wear a fire pit mosquito repellent— Spray an insect repellent product on your clothing to help ward off mosquitoes. Look for products containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, as these are effective. Before choosing a repellent with synthetic chemicals, confirm with your doctor that the ingredients are safe for you.

Remember that using a combination of these tips will give you the best results.

What to Burn to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

You may have heard about burning sage for mosquito control. This is worth a try! Burning eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, or lemon balm can also deter bugs. Either throw a bundle of these leaves/flowers onto the fire, or purchase incense sticks with the same scents and poke them into the ground nearby.

The best wood to burn to repel mosquitoes includes cedar and pinon. Cedar is widely available in most areas, while pinon is mostly available in the southwestern US.

Finally, a recent viral “hack” has been to burn coffee grounds for mosquitoes. This hack hasn’t been widely proven and isn’t very scientific, but the strong scent of the coffee could mask human-created odors that mosquitoes are drawn to.

Make Sure Your Fire and Mosquitoes Don’t Mix

Don’t let mosquitoes be a guest at your next campfire! Prevent bites with reliable mosquito control from Mosquito Squad. To get started with a barrier treatment spray or other outdoor insect control service, contact us for a free quote, or call us at (877) 332-2239 today!