When it comes to mosquitoes, the biggest question most people have is how to keep them away. It can be difficult to know where to begin, with the number of products claiming to do this and repel that, and all the DIY methods that promise just as effective results

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Repellent products can be hit and miss, and many popular DIY methods that work for some might not work for others. One way to repel mosquitoes that is supposedly effective is by using mosquito repellent coils—but do these actually work?

What are mosquito repellent coils?

Mosquito repellent coils are spirals which are incense-like products that, when burned, are meant to keep mosquitoes at bay. The burning usually begins at the end of the spiral, working its way to the middle of the coil. The mosquito repellent coil is normally suspended in the air, either hung or in a holder, in order to promote continuous burning. Many modern mosquito repellent coils often use pyrethrins — the insecticidal derivative of pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is derived from chrysanthemums. They may also have oil of citronella as an active ingredient.

Are mosquito repellent coils effective?

Though mosquito repellent coils are a popular DIY solution for dealing with the pesky insects, there is still the outstanding question of whether or not they are effective. The repellent within the smoke is what makes it so effective at keeping mosquitos away. What could be considered the pros of using them—their long burn time and relatively inexpensive cost—are not worth much if they don’t work. For one thing, on a windy day, the smoke released from repellent coils could be blown away, leaving them ineffective. At the end of the day, while mosquito coils can be effective, there’s no guarantee.

What can you use instead of mosquito repellent coils?

Mosquito coils are coils are not recommended by EPA or CDC as a part of an effective mosquito control program. Instead, according to the American Mosquito Control Association, one of the most effective personal DIY repellents is N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide—more commonly known as DEET. In fact, the AMCA has considered DEET the gold standard when it comes to repellent for over 50 years.

When using products that contain DEET (or other repellents suggested by the AMCA), it’s important to keep in mind the suggested guidelines provided by the EPA for using repellents safely and effectively. Some of these include:

  • Applying repellent only on top of exposed skin and clothing, never under clothing
  • Not spraying in enclosed areas or near food
  • Not using repellent on cuts or damaged skin

If DIY repellent methods aren’t doing the trick it’s best to call in the professionals. A Terminix pest professional will be able to follow Terminix’s 4-step approach to managing mosquito populations..

  1. Inspect your home and yard to come up with a custom treatment plan
  2. Kill and reduce the mosquito population using the custom treatment plan
  3. Protect the home and yard to keep mosquitoes from returning
  4. Maintain the managed mosquito population with monthly visits