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Do Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes and Bugs Away? (Myth or Fact?)

Do Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes and Bugs Away? (Myth or Fact?)

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There aren’t many things in life better to me than spending a cozy night enjoying the company of my loved ones around a fire pit. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and bugs buzzing around are a surefire way to kill the fun. This got me wondering if fire pits can keep mosquitoes and bugs away.

Whether or not a fire pit can repel bugs on mosquitoes depends on whether it’s a wood or gas one. Wood fire pits can repel these creatures because of the smoke they produce. On the other hand, gas fire pits can actually attract mosquitoes and bugs.

Read on to learn more about the insect-repellent properties of fire pits. I’ve also included useful tips and tricks to use to make your fire pit more effective at keeping mosquitoes and bugs away.

Fire Pits as a Repellent for Mosquitoes and Bugs: Myth or Fact?

If you’re wondering whether it’s true that fire pits repel mosquitoes and bugs, the answer is yes.

Having a wood fire pit in your backyard keeps mosquitoes and bugs at bay thanks to the smoke it produces.

This smoke is an irritant for mosquitoes and bugs that messes with their senses. As a result, it works great as an insecticide.

How Do Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes and Bugs Away?

I’ve established that fire pits do keep those pesky bugs and mosquitoes away. Now let’s explore how they do so exactly.

Fire pits have three modes of action to repel bugs and mosquitoes.

The most obvious is the oxygen deprivation that the mosquitoes and bugs experience when they inhale the smoke particles in the air. In turn, the lack of oxygen kills them.

To understand the second way in which fire pits repel mosquitoes and bugs, you first need to know how these critters locate potential hosts.

Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other bugs can sense the carbon dioxide you exhale and that’s how they find you. Your body heat also helps them locate you.

When you sit close to a fire pit, the ash particles and carbon dioxide from the fire make it more difficult for bugs and mosquitoes to find you and latch onto your skin.

Finally, the fire and smoke from the pit significantly reduce the humidity of the surrounding area. This lack of moisture also messes with mosquitoes’ and bugs’ senses.

Do Gas Fire Pits Repel Mosquitoes and Bugs?

Everything I’ve discussed above only applies to wood fire pits.

If you have a gas or propane fire pit in your backyard, this is a different case. That’s because such fire pits don’t produce any smoke, which is the leading factor in repelling bugs and mosquitoes.

Additionally, the heat and carbon dioxide that gas fire pits produce can have the reverse effect and actually attract bugs and mosquitoes.

Don’t worry though, there are measures you can take to deter mosquitoes and bugs from congregating around your gas fire pit.

What Can You Burn in a Fire Pit to Keep Mosquitoes Away?

There are substances you can add to your fire pit to make it a more effective repellent of bugs and mosquitoes. These substances don’t necessarily have to act as fuel for the fire. You can simply add them on top of your firewood.


One excellent option to consider is Pinyon wood. This is a type of softwood that’s highly effective as a mosquito repellent. Additionally, Pinyon wood produces a pleasant smell and can be used to cook delicious food in your fire pit.

Another advantage of Pinyon is that it repels various types of insects and pests, not just mosquitoes.

Furthermore, it burns more efficiently and is easier on the environment than other softwoods, such as pine. In turn, it maintains a more pleasant ambiance around your fire pit.


Sage is another excellent, natural mosquito and bug repellent to add to an already burning fire pit. Like Pinyon wood, it has an intoxicating aroma that takes the atmosphere of your fire pit gathering to the next level.

However, you should add fresh sage to the fire pit to take full advantage of the herb’s insect-repellent properties. That’s because dried sage doesn’t contain the same oils that the fresh variety does.


Eucalyptus wood is one of the more well-known natural insect repellents out there. This is thanks to its cineole and eucalyptol content, which gives it its repellent properties as well as its beautiful smell.

Not only that, but eucalyptus wood also burns rather efficiently and cleanly. In fact, you can use it as the main fuel for your fire pit thanks to its 35 million BTU rating.

Citronella Fire Starters

You can add citronella fire starters to your fire pit to keep those annoying bugs and mosquitoes away.

Citronella is a natural biopesticide that doesn’t rely on toxic chemicals to do its job. Therefore, you should definitely consider using citronella oil-infused fire starters with your fire pit.

Citronella Logs

In a similar fashion to citronella fire starters, citronella wood logs act as natural mosquito and bug repellents too. The natural oils in them keep mosquitoes and other flying insects at bay.

Additionally, they burn much better than traditional firewood, which means you need less wood to keep your fire pit going strong.

What to Do if There Are Too Many Mosquitoes and Bugs for Your Fire Pit to Handle

On days when the number of mosquitoes buzzing around is overwhelming, your fire pit may not be enough to keep them away.

In such cases, you should use other preventative methods to avoid having mosquito bites all over your skin.

Here are some of them:

  • Get an electric outdoor insect zapper
  • Wear a mosquito-repellent patch or bracelet
  • Make sure your clothes cover your entire body and feet
  • Spray mosquito repellent on your clothes. Avoid repellents that contain diethyltoluamide (DEET) and use ones with essential oils instead
  • Try to stay cool and avoid sweating to limit how much you attract mosquitoes
  • Don’t use scented lotions or body washes

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people commonly ask about repelling mosquitoes and bugs:

What is the best thing to keep mosquitoes out of your house?

There are several measures to take to deter mosquitoes from entering your house. First off, you should have fly screens on all potential entry points, such as doors, vents, windows, and chimneys.

Additionally, use a mosquito-repellent that preferably contains picaridin instead of DEET.

Finally, ensure there’s no stagnant water in your house or backyard to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

What scents do mosquitoes hate?

There are many scents that mosquitoes can’t be around. They’re mainly produced by natural substances, like lavender, lemongrass, cedar, cinnamon, peppermint, patchouli, and citronella.

Do mosquitoes prefer clean or dirty skin?

Mosquitoes prefer certain types of skin bacteria. As a result, the amount of these bacteria on your skin partially determines how much you get bit by mosquitoes. These critters are particularly fond of feet and ankles because these are the areas where bacterial growth occurs the most.

Final Thoughts

You and I both know how annoying it can be when there are droves of mosquitoes and bugs buzzing around. It’s especially a nuisance when you’re trying to spend a peaceful night with your family and friends around a fire pit.

This is why I asked myself if fire pits can keep mosquitoes and bugs away. My research unearthed that they can, especially in the case of wood fire pits.

The smoke and carbon dioxide they produce help make mosquitoes’ senses go haywire, so they can’t locate and bite you. You can also add several herbs and types of wood to your fire pit to make it an even more effective mosquito and bug repellent.

Try out the tips I’ve explained in this guide to stop mosquitoes and bugs from ruining your night by the fire!


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