Citronella: An Effective Repellent for Flies and More

Citronella is a common name for a type of lemongrass known as Cymbopogon nardus, prized for its distinct citrus-like aroma. This plant and its derivative products, such as citronella oil and candles, are often touted as effective insect repellents. But do they actually work against flies and other pests? In this article, we will delve into the efficacy of citronella in repelling various insects, including flies, mosquitoes, bees, ants, and others.

Does Citronella Repel Flies and Mosquitoes?

Yes, citronella can repel both flies and mosquitoes. The scent of citronella interferes with these insects’ ability to locate their targets, effectively repelling them. While the oil doesn’t kill these insects, it makes the environment less hospitable for them, hence reducing their presence.

Does Citronella Repel Flies Indoors and in the House?

Citronella can indeed be used indoors to repel flies. Citronella candles and oil diffusers can spread the scent throughout your house, creating an environment that is less attractive to flies. However, it should be noted that the strength and effectiveness of citronella can diminish over time and with increased distance, so regular application or burning is necessary for continued efficacy.

Also read: Companion Plants For Clematis

Does Citronella Get Rid of Flies?

It’s essential to understand that while citronella can deter flies from entering a specific area due to its scent, it doesn’t eliminate or kill flies. It’s better described as a preventive measure rather than a solution for an existing fly infestation.

Does Citronella Attract Flies?

No, citronella does not attract flies. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The smell of citronella is known to confuse or repel flies, making them less likely to stay in the area where the scent is strong.

Does Citronella Repel Other Insects?

In addition to flies and mosquitoes, citronella has been reported to repel a variety of other insects. These include:

  1. Fruit flies and black flies: Similar to common flies and mosquitoes, these smaller insects are also deterred by citronella’s scent.
  2. Bees and wasps: While not as effective as against flies and mosquitoes, citronella can somewhat deter bees and wasps.
  3. Ticks: Citronella may also be useful in repelling ticks.
  4. Ants: Some homeowners have found success using citronella to discourage ants.
  5. Gnats: Citronella can be a good deterrent for gnats.

However, citronella is not effective against all pests. It does not typically repel spiders or cats.

Citronella Repellent Spray

Citronella repellent spray is an easy-to-use product that can be applied to skin, clothing, or even around the home to deter a variety of insects. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use and safety.


While citronella isn’t a cure-all for all pests, it’s an excellent natural deterrent for several types of insects, including flies, mosquitoes, and gnats. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, pleasant-smelling solution for these pests, citronella could be a good choice for you.


Does citronella repel flies?

Yes, citronella can effectively repel flies by disrupting their ability to locate their targets.

Can citronella be used indoors?

Yes, citronella candles or oil diffusers can be used indoors to create a less hospitable environment for flies.

Does citronella kill flies?

No, citronella doesn't kill flies but instead deters them from entering an area.

Does citronella attract flies?

No, citronella does not attract flies. Its scent is typically repelling to them.

What other insects does citronella repel?

Citronella can also repel mosquitoes, fruit flies, black flies, bees, wasps, ticks, ants, and gnats. However, it does not generally deter spiders or cats.

How is citronella repellent spray used?

Citronella repellent spray can be applied to skin, clothing, or areas of the home, following the manufacturer's guidelines for use and safety.

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