Does Smoke Get Rid of Mosquitoes? The Truth About this Practice

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Many people that believe that burning things sends mosquitoes flying off and that they can magically keep the mosquitoes away from your house. But is this really true? Does smoke get rid of mosquitoes? Or are you just sacrificing your family’s health for something that doesn’t even work?

Does Smoke Get Rid of Mosquitoes? The Truth About this Practice

Using smoke to repel mosquitoes is popular in many households.

Smoke may not kill mosquitoes

Currently, there’s just not enough researches that support the idea of burning things to repel or kill mosquitoes.

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In many parts of the world, homeowners use smoke from firewood and other domestic fuel to get rid of mosquitoes. But the World Health Organization’s review of a few experimental and observational studies totally goes against this, explaining how burning anything to keep mosquitoes away will not do anyone much good.

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For one thing, WHO says that there’s simply not enough research that deals with how mosquitoes behave when there’s smoke around. So it’s not known whether they are appalled by smoke or if their senses malfunction because of it. Another possibility is that they could be completely unaffected by it. And they’ll go around their business hunting for more blood meals.

WHO also argues that the evidences presented by the studies they reviewed are close to being weak. This just shows us that there are plenty of other factors to think about when smoke and mosquitoes are involved. 

Nevertheless, we know that mosquitoes really do die when they’re very close to domestic fuel smoke. However, that may be because of the heat. The bugs could have died from the heat of the smoke and not the chemicals or substances brought by it.

Smoke from citronella and other plants repel mosquitoes

Even though smoke from firewood and other fuels don’t do ward off mosquitoes, WHO acknowledges that citronella, eucalyptus and other plants tell a different story.

Mosquito-repelling plants have chemicals inside them that get “released” when they’re burned. And the same thing happens when essential oils collected from these plants are lit up. Citronella, for example, has citronellal, citronellol, geraniol, α pinene, limonene and citral. Those are a bunch of compounds that can confuse nearby mosquitoes and cause their senses to malfunction. That’s why citronella candles are very popular repellents. They have the capacity to keep mosquitoes away.

Smoke is a known health hazard

It doesn’t take a plethora of scientific studies to tell you that using smoke just to drive off mosquitoes can cause serious health problems.

Smoke inhalation, according to WebMD, damages the body. That's because chemical irritants released through the smoke cause injuries in the mucus membranes in your respiratory system. These irritants can also hurt the lining in your respiratory tract and cause coughing and complications like swelling, distress and even airway collapse in the long run.

This is why the number one cause of death when fires strike is the smoke. In incidents like this, almost all people die from the smoke first rather than the fire.

So does smoke get rid of mosquitoes? Obviously, with its potential to cause health issues and its not-so-clear effect on mosquitoes, you’re better off raising natural mosquito predators and trying effective home remedies to solve this pest problem.