How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?

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Do tiki torches keep bugs away? Keep reading to find out the answer.

Tiki torches can sometimes pose a love-hate relationship to their owner. While the tiki flame creates an inviting glow to guests, it also can attract mosquitoes, flies, moths, and other annoying critters that linger in the night and leave painful bites on human skin.

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?

Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?

Yes, most tiki torches do keep bugs away. However, the reason they repel insects is not because of the tiki torch itself, but because of the type of torch fuel.

Some tiki torch fuels contain citronella oil and other natural bug repellents, which steer away mosquitoes and other bugs when the fuel burns.

Citronella also comes in the form of candles, spray, or as an essential oil, but when it burns in a tiki torch, it proves to be one of the most effective methods of repelling bugs.

Best Tiki Torch Fuel Mosquito Repellent

Below are some of the best mosquito-repelling fuels for tiki torches. The brand, “Tiki” is generally the best type of tiki torch fuel, but some of the alternate brands can work just as well for repelling mosquitoes, and sometimes for a lower price.

When ordering tiki torch fuel, keep in mind:

  • More fuel is better. Tiki torch fuel burns fast. Expect each tiki torch to burn through about 1 ounce of fuel per one hour.
  • Buy tiki torch fuel in bulk to save money and use propane tiki torches that have a 12-ounce fuel capacity for longer-lasting flames.
  • Smaller capacity tiki torches can become a nuisance because they require a refill after almost every hour. However, smaller tiki torches could be ideal for people who use them for only short periods of time.

Tiki Clean Burn BiteFighter Mosquito Repellent Torch Fuel (64 oz.)

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Firefly Tiki Torch Fuel Citronella Formula Odorless (1 Gal.)

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Ner Mitzvah Citronella Scented Smokeless Paraffin Lamp Oil (1 Gal.)

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Tiki Citronella & Cedar BiteFighter Torch Fuel (100 fl. oz.)

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Tiki Citronella Scented Torch Fuel (1 gal.)

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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How to Make Citronella Oil for Tiki Torches DIY

All types of tiki torch fuel contain a handful of harmful chemicals. This fact is alarming to most people, especially those who are conscious of their effect on the environment.

There is a way to make citronella oil for tiki torches right in the comfort of your home!

How to Make Citronella Oil for Tiki Torches DIY


The first item needed is a sealable container that will hold the tiki torch oil.

The rest of the instructions are simple. Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 to 2 teaspoons of essential oil. Some options for essential oils are cedar, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, chamomile, and rosemary. All these essential oils are natural bug repellents.

Mix the oil well and then store it in the container. The original instructions provide directions for making a homemade tiki fuel container with a wick. That could make it easier to put the oil in the tiki torch since some do not already come with a wick, and you could even use your creation as a temporary tiki torch.

Commonly Asked Questions About Citronella

In this section, we answer some questions you may have about the main ingredient in mosquito-repelling tiki torch fuel, citronella.

1. Does citronella kill mosquitoes?

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Citronella repels mosquitoes, but it does not kill them. Of course, if a mosquito touches the flame of the tiki torch, it may die, but the smell of citronella burning will not harm it. The same goes for citronella candles.

If mosquitoes become too much of a problem and the bug-repellant is not enough, bug zappers are the next step.

Bug zappers use ultraviolet light to attract the mosquitos and other insects, and then electricity shocks them. Some of the best bug zappers are the Livin’ Well Bug Zapper and the TBI Pro Electronic ZapLikePRO 360 Bug Zapper.

How Do Tiki Torches Keep Bugs Away?
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Bug zappers usually hang up high and have a barrier around the zapper that protects kids and domesticated pets from getting hurt when they try to touch the lantern.

Tiki torches pose their own risks to pets and kids, but they just do not work as well for killing mosquitoes.

2. Is citronella dangerous?

Citronella is a natural oil derived from lemongrass, which grows in the wild. Citronella is not necessarily dangerous unless someone is allergic.

Most citronella products warn against using citronella around pets and young children since allergic reactions can be more serious; however, simply burning citronella tiki torch fuel should not cause any harm.

The smoke from citronella tiki torch fuel can also cause breathing issues in pets, which in some cases, leads to stomach cramping.

The best way to avoid breathing problems in your pets when using a bug-repelling tiki torch is to place the tiki torch toward the edge of the outdoor living space.

Tiki torches do not have to be right next to furniture in order to repel bugs; they can actually repel bugs from several feet away. And, since tiki torches burn fairly bright, moving a tiki torch away from a living space will not significantly reduce the lighting.

Pretty much, citronella in tiki torch fuel is not dangerous unless used in a hazardous way. Remember that tiki torch fuel, in general, can be dangerous since it is flammable, and just because the citronella ingredient is not dangerous, does not mean the same for the rest of the ingredients.

3. Does citronella get rid of flies?

Yes. Citronella repels most flying insects. Many people assume that citronella only repels mosquitos, when in fact, it repels mosquitos, flies, moths, June bugs, beetles, and many other insects that fly or crawl.


Tiki torches can be very effective at keeping bugs away. Most tiki torch fuels already contain citronella and other bug-repelling ingredients, so a tiki torch is a fun alternative to plain old citronella candles.

To learn some more in-depth information on tiki torch styles, fuels, and wicks, go check out Tiki Torches: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know.

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