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Do Fire Pits Repel Mosquitoes?

There’s nothing worse than getting bitten by mosquitoes in your backyard. But will lighting up the fire pit deter them?

Smoke from wood-burning fire pits does keep mosquitoes away, especially if you also burn herbs such as catnip, lemon balm, citronella, rosemary, lavender, sage, and mint. However, as propane fire pits do not produce smoke, these do not deter mosquitoes.

Let’s dive down into how fire pits keep away bugs in greater detail – and discover more about the properties of those herbs we mentioned in keeping those pesky mozzies at bay…

Do Fire Pits Repel Mosquitoes?

Does Smoke From Fire Pits Keep Bugs & Mosquitoes Away?

Smoke from fire pits does keep bugs and mosquitoes away. However, it’s not a perfect outdoor pest control solution. It repels most insects because it’s composed of tiny particles that make it impossible for bugs and mosquitoes to see and breathe.

Sometimes mosquitoes may be persistent. You can add different types of wood and herbs to make your fire pit more functional and effective against mosquitoes and bugs.

Herbs and certain wood change the scent and smoke quality. You can add any of the following herbs: catnip, lemon balm, citronella, rosemary, lavender, sage, and mint. 

Some herbs repel mosquitoes better than others. Whether you burn the herbs fresh or dried, they’ll still have the same effect.

What Can I Put in The Fire Pit To Keep Mosquitoes Away? (Do Herbs Help?)

Mosquitoes rely on their sense of smell to hunt. They smell the carbon dioxide you exhale. Therefore, if you mask your fragrance, mosquitoes will not find you

When out in the backyard, herbs will mask your scent when you burn them in a fire pit. Also, the herbs irritate bugs and mosquitoes.

Here are five common herbs and their mosquito repelling properties:


This herb is excellent because of its pleasant smell; it is easy on your nose. Lavender is a common herb and well known for its pleasing fragrance. However, it also keeps mosquitoes away. It has a smoky repellent effect when you throw it in the fire.


Mint family herbs are widely known for their usefulness at keeping bugs away, and peppermint is excellent for mosquito repellant. It has a strong pleasant smell that irritates and keeps away mosquitoes.

Lemon Balm

This is also part of the mint family. It has a lemony scent that deters mosquitoes when you burn it. 


Sage is one of the therapeutic herbs that have been in use for centuries. Because of its aromatherapy qualities, it makes an excellent bug repellant when you add it to your fire pit.


If you’ve ever bought a mosquito repellant candle, you’re probably aware that citronella is a key ingredient. One of the reasons it’s so effective at deterring bugs is its very strong scent. You should definitely try it out in your fire pit!

Can You Put Citronella in a Fire Pit To Deter Bugs?

Yes, you can put citronella in a fire pit to deter bugs. To answer this question, let’s look at how to do this…

Before you use citronella, you need to clean your fire pit with soap and water. Scrub it thoroughly, then allow it to dry. If you have a new fire pit, you are good to go.

Next, you need to set your fire pit in a non-flammable spot in your backyard. Place it on a concrete platform. Leave some space around the fire pit. 

When you are certain the fire pit is stable, remove the enclosure and place the logs. Light the fire, then throw the citronella in the fire pit.

Alternatively, you may like to burn citronella oil using oil lamps. Instead of using wood, some people place oil lamps in a fire pit and get the same effect. 

If you decide to use an oil lamp, ensure it is filled with the recommended oil. 

Is Lavender Good For Keeping Mosquitoes Away?

Yes. Naturally, lavender can repel even mammals such as rabbits and deer. But according to studies, lavender packs more power when used in conjunction with other mosquito repelling elements.

Its most potent component is its oil. Anecdotal evidence shows that lavender helps users in repelling mosquitos.

Lavender contains linalool which helps produce a robust repelling scent. The pungent smell works in overloading the mosquito’s senses. On the other hand, this detestable smoke for bugs is pleasant to the human nose.

A study by Colorado State University concludes that cinnamon oil and citronella are the perfect  boosters for lavender. So whether it is burned as a stand-alone oil or in conjunction with other oils, Lavender will help you keep mosquitos away.

You may also apply it to your skin as an effective way of repelling bugs.

Can Sage Keep Mosquitoes at Bay?

Not only is sage great for cooking, but it is also an excellent mosquito repellant. Next time you are in your backyard, sage will help you to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Like the other herbs on this list, sage relies on its incense to wade off pesky bugs.

Usually, these herbs produce alluring aromas to humans when burned. However, when bugs inhale these scents, their unpleasant smell repels them so much they choose to keep away. 

This smoky weapon will keep you protected as you enjoy a party in your backyard. Sage’s superpower lies in its leaves which naturally produce an enticing fragrance. Also, its oils are used in burning incense. 

You don’t have to be a mystical guru to make sage oil from its leaves and stems. Nothing stops you from making mosquito repellant in your kitchen. To make this, use dried sage stems or their essential oils. 

Is Burning Lemon Balm Good To Scare Off Bugs?

Again, burning lemon balm will help repel bugs such as mosquitoes. Lemon balm is from the mint family and is an effective mosquito repellant. You can apply it to your skin, and it will still have the same effect.

That said, burning lemon balm in tyour fire pit will repel bugs from a wider area. Moreover, it allows you and your family to enjoy your backyard without fear of mosquito bites. Lemon balm contains a compound known as citronella that is responsible for its lemony scent. 

If possible, you can apply it to your ankles, arms, and typically exposed places. This will act as an added protection from the burned lemon balm. The essential oils from this herb are flavorful and emit the right incense to keep bugs away when burned.

Do Fire Pits Deter Mosquitoes?

Can Mint in The Fire Pit Help Keep Mosquitoes Away?

The mint family has got an extensive collection of herbs that work as mosquito repellents. As far as fire pit mosquito repellants are concerned, peppermint is one of the best in this family. 

Just toss some peppermint leaves in the fire pit and the smoke created will send those irritating bugs ducking for cover.

Do Gas Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes Away? 

The short answer is no. Smoke is the main repellant for mosquitoes, and gas fire pits do not produce smoke with a pungent smell. This means that the gas fire pit is incapable of repelling mosquitoes

Gas fire pits use propane. When propane burns, it produces carbon dioxide. Just like your breath, carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes. Therefore, this makes gas fire pits bad mosquito repellants.

Because of the design of most gas fire pits, you can not burn anything on them, including herbs.


So there we have it – wood burning fire pits do keep mossies away, especially if you burn some herbs too.

But it’s bad news for propane fire pit owners when it comes to deterring mosquitoes. Because these pits don’t produce smoke you’ll have to find another way to send those irritating bugs packing.

Try rubbing some of those nicer smelling herbs on your skin as an alternative – if all else fails at least you’ll smell good for your guests around the fire pit. 🙂

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >