Does Citronella Repel Wasps? {Which Scents Do They Hate?}

Would you like to repel more than just mosquitos with citronella? Does Citronella Repel Wasps?

Which scents do wasps hate and why are they on your property in the first place? Which essential oils are better than citronella?

In this article, we’ll discuss the topic, “Does Citronella Repel Wasps?”

Does Citronella Repel Wasps?

Although citronella is known better for its ability to repel mosquitoes, the smell can also keep wasps and bees away as well.

Citronella plants, it’s essential oil extract or candles can help to keep wasps out of your home and surrounding property.

The repellency of citronella is not as great as other oils such as spearmint, wintergreen, sage, geranium and lavender when used as wasp repellents.

Does a Citronella Candle Repel Wasps?

A citronella candle can repel wasps, but it works better for mosquitoes. The candle can be kept near windowsills, cracks or openings near your home.

The problem with citronella candles is that they leave behind a sticky residue. It is unnecessary to use a citronella candle when other oils like peppermint are so readily available.

You can also use lemon and cloves as well. Many essential oils can be used in a spray form when mixed with water and a drop of dishwashing soap to blend them together.

Citronella candles are often regarded as toxic to pets as well. It is advised to keep your pets away from the area where you light a citronella candle.

What Scent Keeps Wasps Away?

Wasps have the ability to pick up smells from great distances. They use them to find sources of food. Their strong sense of smell can cause them to dislike many odors.

The following scents keep wasps away:

  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Vinegar
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Bay leaves
  • Lemon
  • Citronella
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cinnamon

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Does Citronella Work on Wasps?

Citronella plants and their oil extracts are used as repellents to deter most flying insects including mosquitoes. However, they have a strong sense of smell and they do not like citronella either.

You will not find wasps trying to hover around citronella plants. There is an citrus-like aroma in citronella that keeps flying insects at bay.

Citronella is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetic products as well. They derive from the stems and leaves of the Cymbopogon.

Why Are There So Many Wasps Around My House?

Wasps are getting into your house through cracks and openings. It is important to see if there are openings that can lead into your home to prevent wasps from infesting the indoor spaces.

Sealing these access points inside your home helps prevent other pests from entering as well. Wasp also enjoy the scent of flowering plants in the nectar of flowers.

You may also be using scented fragrances or cosmetics that contain the aroma of flowers. Wasps are attracted to it and may fly around your home in order to obtain this attractive nectar.

How Do You Make Insect Repellent With Citronella Oil?

Citronella is an age-old remedy when used as a repellent for insects. Making a citronella oil spray is as easy as adding these three ingredients:

  • Citronella oil
  • Water
  • Dishwashing soap
  1. Simply add 10 to 15 drops of citronella oil in an 8 oz spray bottle.
  2. Add two to three drops of dishwashing detergent or soap.
  3. Fill the entire bottle with water.
  4. Shake the contents before spraying them willfully around the perimeter of your home to keep wasps away.

The dishwashing soap is an added bonus because the oil of citronella does not mix well with water. The soap helps to bond both water and oil.

Is Citronella Toxic To Dogs?

Yes. Citronella oil is not advised to be used as a repellent for wasps if you have a pet. This is because the citronella plants and its contents are considered toxic to pets.

Citronella products around the home are not toxic for humans, but we advise to keep your dogs and cats away from the areas that you are lighting these candles or using these oils.

If you are growing citronella plants in your garden, keep your pets away from the locations where they are located.

Why Does Citronella Repel Wasps?

Citronella oil is included as one of many types of essential oils that can be used to repel wasps.  The clear reason why it works so effectively is because wasps have a strong sense of smell and do not like it.

They also hate the smell of lavender, peppermint, geranium and many more essential oils. You can also plant these in your garden and spread them around to make sure that wasps look for a different location to hover around.

Wasps are here because they want to enjoy the nectar of flowering plants. If you keep your prized flowers near citronella plants, there is a very good chance that wasps will not enjoy being in this area.

This is because citronella has a smell that is similar to citrus. Wasps hate the smell of citrus and will continue flying on to find something more attractive for them to ingest.

Will Citronella Oil Help to Repel Wasps?

Have you ever noticed a wasp nest on your property? Do not try to remove it yourself. Your better bet is to call for a professional service to remove this nest.

You can also try to tackle the problem by yourself in a smarter way. One such method is to light a citronella candle underneath the  nest. You can also spray citronella oil mix with water in the area where the wasp nest is located.

The only issue with citronella oil is that you would constantly need to reapply it as the scent dissipates rather quickly.

You can combine other citrus scent like lavender, peppermint, geranium and cinnamon oils if you would like to make a more potent mixture.

A citronella candle last longer because of the time it takes to burn. Citronella torches are also a great idea if you would like to light one and keep it as a decorated fixture underneath the area where you last noticed a wasp nest.

Is Citronella Oil Better Than Peppermint Oil to Repel Wasps?

No. In our experience, peppermint oil has been proven to be more effective to repel wasps. Add a tablespoon of peppermint oil with hot to warm water in a spray bottle.

Spray it willingly all over the area where you have spotted wasps active. If you can find the nest and your spray bottle is strong enough, aim at them directly. A few sprays and it will chase them out.

Peppermint oil is also better at repelling rodents such as mice. If you do not have any peppermint oil lying around, but you have citronella instead, we still suggest that you can use what you have available. Keep in mind, citronella oil is toxic to pets.

Citronella Strategies For Repelling Wasps

Any type of insect problem in your home or around the surrounding perimeter can be attacked with using certain essential oils including citronella.

One method is to soak cotton balls in citronella oil and place them all around the areas where you witness the activity of wasps.

Some recommended areas include:

  • Windowsills 
  • Door frames
  • Any openings or cracks
  • Shrubs
  • Plants
  • Crops

Citronella in candle spray or oil is effective at repelling flying insects. They are famously known to keep mosquitoes away.

Thankfully, you can also use citronella to repel wasps. Some people do not prefer using it because they are sensitive to the smell or have experience allergic reactions in the past.

Citronella also has a scent that dissipates rather quickly, leaving you to reapply it more often.


There have been extensive studies involved using citronella and other essential oils to repel flying insects.

Citronella does have some repellency to keep wasps and yellowjackets away, but their performance is not as great as other types of oils including:

  • clove oil
  • lemongrass oil
  • ylang ylang oil
  • spearmint oil
  • wintergreen oil
  • sage oil
  • rosemary oil
  • geranium oil
  • lavender oil

Another downside to using citronella is that it is considered toxic to pets. Inhaling the fumes of citronella inside your home is also not as healthy for your lungs compared to many of the other oils on the list above.

The only reason why you would need to use citronella oil is because it is more convenient for you since you have it available in your home.

Go ahead and use citronella to repel wasps and as an added bonus, you will keep mosquitoes away as well.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable