Mosquitoes are probably the one thing that keeps most people from enjoying time outside during the summer and fall. Many people use bug spray and citronella candles.
Some even preach that fire pits are the best at keeping the pests away, but sometimes the mosquitoes are persistent, and you wonder, do the fire pits even work?
The short answer is YES, smoke from fire pits can keep mosquitoes and other insects away. Adding different herbs and woods to the fire pit will help decrease the chances of mosquitoes lingering around you in your backyard.
Fire pits are an excellent way to keep mosquitoes away. There are different ways you can adapt your fire pit to ensure that mosquitoes do not hang out with you while you are outside. While fire pits do work in the short term, like while you’re outside, consider the size of your yard as well.
Smoke as a Mosquito Repellant
Many people use smoke in different forms to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away. In general, smoke deters almost any insect. Smoke is filled with fine particulates that make it difficult for mosquitoes and other bugs to breathe and see.
Fire pits are great for gathering around with your family and friends. They warm everyone up in the fall and lower the humidity in the summer. The best part about them is that their smoke keeps mosquitoes away. Gas fire pits do not emit smoke. Therefore they won’t be successful at keeping mosquitoes away.
Fire pits are highly customizable to fit your needs. You can make them as big or as small as you want, and you can control the amount of time you have them active for. You can also add different types of wood and herbs to change the scent and smoke quality.
One downside of fire pits is that if you have a big back yard, the smoke will be localized and mostly keep mosquitoes away at and downwind of the fire pit. The smoke can also irritate a person’s eyes, sinuses, and lungs, so if you are sitting around a fire pit, make sure you do not sit downwind.
Burning Herbs and Wood as a Mosquito Repellant
Since fire pits are versatile in what you can burn in them, you can burn different woods and herbs and get different results. Some woods and herbs are better at keeping mosquitoes away than others.
As the base of your fire pit, the wood you select is important for the result, especially if you want to keep mosquitoes away. Hardwoods tend to burn longer and leave a pleasant aroma when burned. Softwoods aren’t as dense, so they won’t burn as long and will need to be replenished frequently. There have been studies to see which woods are the best at repelling mosquitoes.
Some great woods you can burn are:
Pinion is a great softwood to use because it is denser than most other softwoods, so it burns longer.
Eucalyptus is a great hardwood to burn because it burns for a long time and is sustainably grown.
Another excellent way to help fend off mosquitoes with your fire pit is to add different herbs to your woodpile. Consider how much of the herbs you use and where you will place them. If you place them in the middle of the fire, they will likely have a shorter burn time and won’t last as long. Try to keep them on the edge with some kindling, so they catch and still produce smoke.
Some excellent herbs to burn are:
When burning the herbs, you don’t have to worry if the herbs are fresh or dried. You should keep them bundled while burning for the best results. Adding herbs to your fire pit will also make the smoke smell better.
What to do if the Mosquitoes are Still Around
Sometimes, no matter what you do, there are persistent mosquitoes who linger around you. Some other great methods that you can use to make sure you aren’t bitten are preventative, but using a combination of methods will give the best results. Some great options are:
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- Wearing clothing and shoes that cover your body and feet
- Using a mosquito repellant with or without DEET on your clothing. DEET is known for keeping mosquitoes away, however many people are uncomfortable with using repellants containing DEET. Other alternatives contain essential oils and picaridin. Check the instructions on the product you choose to use to ensure safety and prevent poisoning.
- Wearing an insect repellant bracelet or patch
- Purchase a stringer outdoor insect zapper
You can also do some things to limit your attraction to mosquitoes, such as:
- Not wearing perfume or using scented body washes and lotions
- Avoid drinking beer
- Try to stay cool and avoid sweating as much as possible
It is important to make sure that you limit any stagnant water in your yard. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and will increase the number of mosquitoes you will have to deal with while outside.
Some common places that you will find stagnant water in your yard are:
- Puddles and ponds
- Drip trays from plants
- Clogged gutters
If you have stagnant water in your yard, you should remove it immediately. Some ways you can get rid of it or allow movement are:
- Placing a slow motor or water filter in a birdbath to keep the water moving
- Emptying the drip trays and allowing the area to dry
- Place a mosquito ring in the stagnant water, such as in a pond
- Cleaning your gutters
Seasonal Pest Control
Many times the best way to keep mosquitoes away is to treat your yard with insecticide each season or every year. This is especially important if you live in a humid or low elevation area where mosquitoes are common.
You can buy the treatment at your local hardware store, or if you are uncomfortable with applying the treatment, you can hire a professional landscaper to treat your yard. Here is an excellent and thorough guide on how to control mosquitoes in your yard with insecticides.
Planting Different Plants Around the Yard
Just like burning certain herbs and woods will prevent mosquitoes from being around your yard, you can plant different herbs to deter the mosquitoes.
Some plants that will help keep mosquitoes away are:
- Citronella grass
What to do if you Have a Large Backyard
Since fire pits are localized, the smoke from them will only keep mosquitoes away in the area the fire pit is, and during the time, the fire pit is active. There are several things you can do to ensure that mosquitoes are kept away while you are outside and throughout the season.
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Location of the Fire Pit
Before building or placing your fire pit, consider where you place it. There are two great places to put your fire pit in your yard.
Learn the general direction of the wind in your area and place the fire pit in an upwind location in your yard. This will help ensure that the smoke will generally follow a specific path. It will also help cover most of your yard.
Some days and nights, the wind will change direction, such as when storms or fronts are arriving and pushing through. This will change the direction of the smoke in your yard. Another great place to put your fire pit is in the center of your yard, so you can benefit from the smoke keeping mosquitoes away in any direction.
Fire pits are an amazing way to keep mosquitoes away. Burning different woods and adding herbs to your fire pit is the best way to ensure that the smoke keeps the mosquitoes out of your yard while burning.
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