Does Citronella Help Against Wasps?

As soon as the temperatures rise, balconies and terraces are used as an extended living room. But this also brings uninvited guests to the table: wasps. Although they are not considered aggressive, wasps can be dangerous if they accidentally enter the mouth via food. There are a number of home remedies to ward them off, but not every one of them is useful. In this regard, citronella against wasps is considered one of the possible repellents, which brings relief only when used properly.

Citronella against wasps


Citronella is an essential oil obtained not from citrus fruits, but from lemongrass (Cymbopogon nardus), native to Asia. The oil is obtained by steam distillation, which requires 100 kilograms of leaves for one liter of the oil. The ingredients myrcene and citral are responsible for the lemon scent.
The fresh scent is used in various ways such as in cosmetics and can also help against wasps.

Note: Only high-quality oils really show effect against insects. Therefore, when buying should pay attention to a high-quality product.

Scented candles


The extract of lemongrass can be processed in different forms. In summer, very popular are candles or garden torches, which are mixed with essential oils. When burning, the scent is released into the environment, which disturbs the sensitive olfactory nerves of insects. When buying candles should pay attention to the following:

  • Use of natural waxes (soy wax).
  • no beeswax
  • high quality essential oils
  • long burning time


Especially during the day a wasp can become a problem – in the evening or at night the animals are not active. Normal candles are often not very atmospheric here at the table. An alternative are floating candles, which also provide a nice atmosphere at the patio table during the day.

As an alternative to the scented candle, you can also use a fragrance lamp. In principle, any fragrance lamp is suitable for this, but you should always dose essential oils moderately. If necessary, the dosage can be increased at any time.

Targeting Citronella against wasps


For the intense scent to really help, you need not only high-quality oils, but also the right position. At the table, not every guest may like the smell of lemon, which is why the scent dispensers, whether candle or fragrance lamp should be placed with some distance. It is important that they actually form a barrier against the insects, because otherwise the scent will be ineffective.

Garden torches with the scent of lemon, for example, you can position around the terrace. With a candle arrangement, you should pay attention primarily to a safe stand. On the ground, they can quickly become a fire hazard for clothes. In this case, it is better to use lanterns.

Danger of allergies


As with many essential oils, there is a risk of allergies with citronella. Anyone who wants to use the scent to drive away insects should therefore test beforehand whether they can really tolerate citronella oil. For this purpose, a small scented candle can be used, for example, or one to two drops of the essential oil in a fragrance lamp. If allergic reactions such as nausea or shortness of breath occur after a short time, this is probably due to an allergic reaction.

Note: Never use essential oils pure. The intensity could be too strong and lead to symptoms of poisoning such as nausea or vomiting.

Offer wasps alternatives
Citronella against wasps helps only to a limited extent, because when the animals’ hunger is too great, wasps come to the table because they cannot find suitable food sources in the surrounding area. Therefore, if you do not want to have the uninvited guests at the table, you should offer an alternative in remote areas. This can be the following measures:

  • Setting up water troughs
  • Plant berry bushes and leave fruit to the animals
  • Leave fallen fruit on the ground

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