How Does Citronella Repel Mosquitoes?

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The National Pesticide Information Center explains that citronella repels mosquitoes by masking scents that mosquitoes are naturally attracted to, which in turn makes it difficult for mosquitoes to locate food. Citronella does not cause harm to mosquitoes or other insects. Citronella candles are specifically designed for outdoor use and should also not be lit in semi-enclosed areas, such as screened-in porches or garages.