Do Fire Pits Keep Mosquitoes Away? (Are they Effective?)

A fire pit also referred to as a fire hole, is generally a pit that's often dug in the ground or an elaborate burning structure made using stones or bricks. Fire pits can use different types of raw materials to start a fire, including wood, natural gas, propane gas, or even gel fuel.  

Friends and family typically love sitting and telling stories around fire pits while enjoying the warmth and relaxed ambiance they bring. Unfortunately, some very dreaded guests may show up and spoil the party!__ its always you mosquitoes! 

Nothing ruins the fun than your family and guests getting bitten by mosquitoes when you're least prepared with a mosquito spray! 

Hence, it's quite common for homeowners to wonder whether they can keep mosquitoes away by lighting a fire pit in their backyards. To begin with, all insects live in mortal fear of smoke and will avoid being close to it by all means! That's because, for insects, smoke denotes fire, and fire means instant death! 

So, do fire pits keep mosquitoes away? The short answer is yes! Smoke from a fire pit acts as an excellent mosquito repellent. 

But as noted earlier, fire pits use different types of raw materials to start a fire. So, you'll need to know which raw materials will provide the best results and learn how to maximize the effects. 

Let's delve deeper into the topic so that you and your guests can have an enjoyable time outdoors without being infested by unwanted guests: 

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Are Mosquitoes Attracted To Fire Pits? 

Note that most bugs, including mosquitoes, are naturally attracted to sources of heat and light. Some insects like moths are obsessively drawn to light. In addition, small animals that feed on bugs, like frogs and spiders, move towards a light source in search of food. 

So, unless there is something that actively repels mosquitoes, they will always be attracted to sources of light and warmth, including fire pits. 

Unfortunately, mosquitoes are more than a nuisance invader__they also spread severe diseases, and their bites are very itchy, causing lots of discomforts! The presence of these annoying pests during your outdoor activities should be a great concern for you and your guests. 

One of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away from around your fire pits is to turn the tide and halt the invading foe. But for you to turn the tables on mosquitoes, it's necessary that you first understand why the pests are attracted to fire pits. 

Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted To Fire Pits? 

The first and most important thing to understand is that though mosquitoes, like other bugs, move towards sources of light and heat, they do so for an entirely different reason. 

According to numerous studies, most bugs principally navigate (find their way) by keeping a natural source of light like fires in their sight. Rather than flying around in the dark trying to avoid bumping into things, bugs will head directly to a light source because it's easy to see where they are going. 

Conversely, mosquitoes primarily move towards sources of light and heat in search of food, quite often a human host. Unfortunately, these annoying insects associate heat and light with the possible presence of a host or food. This explains why you often see them around the fire pit ruining your late-night backyard event! 

Additionally, studies have found that mosquitoes have receptors that can detect carbon dioxide from a potential host from 50 or more meters away! 

Even in the absence of carbon dioxide, mosquitoes can still be attracted to a potential host by other stimuli such as: 
  • Type O blood attracts 83% more mosquitoes than other blood types. 
  • Body temperature, which is a major heat footprint
  • People who eat lots of salt (potassium and sodium) 
  • Perfumes, shampoo, scented soaps, and even sweat. 
With the above factors in mind, we can safely conclude that mosquitoes are not attracted to the light from a fire pit per se. Rather these nocturnal insects are, for the most part, in search of food after sundown, which is their most active hours! 

Does Smoke From Firepits Keep Mosquitoes Away? 

Smoke has for many decades been used as a natural insect repellent. Smoke naturally produces a pungent smell that both humans and bugs can't stand! 

However, this smell can only be produced if you're using a wood-burning fire pit. A natural gas fire pit does not produce smoke of any kind, which means that the pungent smell is not present. 

Wood smoke contains fine particles and chemicals such as carbon monoxide, tar, soot, and volatile organic compounds that create a very undesirable environment for mosquitoes and other bugs. 

During to a study cited by the U.S National Institutes of Health (NIH), there was a higher reduction in mosquito bites due to the smoke produced during test burns than other methods like applying repellents to the skin. 

Please note that carbon dioxide is also released during burning. And as mentioned above, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide. This means that in the absence of other pungent gases and chemicals, mosquitoes will be attracted to the fire pit. For instance, when you're using a gas fire pit, 

In conclusion: The answer to the question, do fire pits keep mosquitoes away is not as straightforward as many would wish. That's because the smoke of a wood-burning firepit will effectively repel mosquitoes from your yard. However, a gas fire pit cannot rid mosquitoes from an area. 

Luckily, some types of plants and woods can be added into a fire pit to help effectively repel mosquitoes and other bugs from your yard naturally. 

What Can I Add In My Fire Pit To Effectively Keep Mosquitoes Away? 

The good thing is that fire pits are versatile, allowing you to burn varying types of plants/wood to keep mosquitoes away.

The wood you select in your fire pit greatly determines your success in keeping mosquitoes away. Unlike softwoods, hardwoods tend to burn much longer, and you won't need to replenish frequently. 

Pinyon(Pinion) 

Pinyon wood is often referred to as the 'hardwood of softwoods.' It is technically a softwood, but it's harder and denser than your regular softwood. In fact, Pinyon has a very high BTU rating of 27.1 million. 

This popular firewood is readily available in Southwest U.S. It is a good insect repellent, and mosquitoes tend to avoid it. On the plus side, Pinyon burns cleanly while producing a pleasant smell! 

Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus just has the edge over most other types of firewood when it comes to repelling mosquitoes in your yard. This effective mosquito repellent contains an active ingredient, eucalyptol or cineole (found in eucalyptus oil), which repels and even kills mosquitoes. 

Although eucalyptus is less common than Pinyon in the U.S, many companies use its active ingredients in making insect repellents. Eucalyptus produces a pleasant, spicy aroma and has one of the highest BTU ratings of 34.5 million per cord! This makes it a great wood choice to repel mosquitoes from your outdoor areas. 

Please note that eucalyptus is not recommended for use indoors as homeowners have reported sparking and creosote formation. Prolonged exposure to creosote may be harmful to your health. 

Rosemary or Sage 

People love the smell of rosemary as it is associated with positive memories and good luck! But guess who doesn't like rosemary__ mosquitoes! 
You can use rosemary or sage to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects from your outdoor living space. Note that these herbs will not provide the most effective results in their dry forms. 
Therefore, you want to pick some fresh bundles of rosemary or sage from the supermarket down the block and use them one at a time to send mosquitoes packing and enjoy your late-night parties.
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