Scented candles are amazing and they really make the difference between a ‘house’ and a ‘your home’. If you love scented candles and you live in an area which is prone to fruit flies, however, then at some point you’re going to ask yourself the following question. Do scented candles attract fruit flies?
Technically, they COULD, but your chances of getting fruit flies just because you’ve lit an apple or other fruit-scented candle are quite minimal to the point of being almost a complete non-risk. Today we’re going to explore the topic in detail so that you can burn your favorite candles with complete confidence.
We’ll talk about scents which these flies might like, scents which may repel them, and by the time that we are done you’ll have all the facts that you need to rest a little more comfortably when you are burning your scented candles. Without further ado, let’s discuss the facts about flies and fragrances!
Do Scented Candles Keep Flies Away?
This is one question which we get all of the time. Do scented candles really keep flies away? The answer is that ‘yes, there are certain scents that flies find repellant and others which may attract them’.
Just like you and your house pets have scents that you prefer, such as the smell of cooking food, and scents that you don’t like such as burning or obvious repellants like skunk spray, the same principle applies to insects. So, which scents do flies find undesirable? Here are some common examples that people like to add to their candles to keep bugs at bay:
- Lavender – This soothing scent is pleasing to us but flies just don’t seem to like it. While it might make you sleepy, your sleep should be a restful one without the bother of buzzing flies.
- Pine – Pine Is another scent that is believed to keep the flies at bay and it also gives your house a Christmas sort of ambience that you might like better if lavender is not your thing.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is a very popular option that is said to keep away not only flies, but mosquitos, wasps, and even some kinds of fleas!
- Citronella – Citronella is considered best for keeping away mosquitos and for driving off gnats.
- Mint – Peppermint, especially, is considered a good choice as the sharp, strong scent is very pleasant for humans but for spiders and flies… not so much!
Now, while we know that flies don’t like these scents, we should mention that there is a caveat. Candles can keep insects at bay, but the effects are going to be limited to small areas around the candles. Cleaver placement and consideration of proximity should be practiced for best results.
What Candles Deter Fruit Flies?
When it comes to fruit flies specifically, there are certain scents that they really seem to hate the most. If you want to whip up some scented candles that are specifically geared to keep fruit flies at bay, then these are the scents you’ll want to go with:
- Basil – Basil candles give a sharp, sweet scent that can really fill a room while pulling double-duty by driving off those pesky fruit flies.
- Clove – For some of us, this smell is associated with a yummy Christmas ham, so cloves are a familiar and friendly scent that goes great in candles. Fruit flies really seem to hate it, so this is a nice way to catch a little holiday spirit without catching any fruit flies in the bargain.
- Eucalyptus – This one we mentioned in regards to mosquitos, wasps, and regular flies, but fruit flies also seem to despise it as well so it remains a good choice to consider.
- Lavender – While good for regular flies, this sleep-friendly choice is also good when you’ve got fruit flies in the house.
- Lemongrass – For a little lemony zest tempered with the sharp, earthy scents of herbs, it’s hard to beat lemongrass and those little unwelcome fruit flies really seem to hate it!
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What Smell Attracts Fruit Flies?
We’ve talked about what kinds of smell fruit flies hate, so let’s take a moment to talk about what they love. Fruit scents, obviously, are a favorite of fruit flies, especially when the fruits are going bad. The reason that they can find fruits and your trash can so quickly, however, requires a little science.
The ‘quick and dirty’ explanation is that fruit flies have 21 olfactory neurons which we have identified and these are divided between 2 noses! This allows them to identify fruit scents from miles away, however, there is also some good news that can help you to better understand them and to take steps to keep them at a distance.
Fruit flies are attracted to the scents of sugary drinks, fruits, vegetables, and especially to fermentation and the alcohols that result. If you are hosting a party outside, the sugary drinks (especially with alcohol) are going to attract fruit flies more often than your candles will.
This is because the fruit fly’s ‘high definition’ sense of scents is geared towards finding the largest concentrations, rather than just simply the smell of fruit. This means that they are more likely to look for the real fruit where they can lay their eggs rather than to settle for simply the fragrance.
That added hint of fermentation is the biggest factor and, in any case, your candle isn’t going to have enough scent to fool them… they will always target the nearest actual fruits and alcohols.
Do Scented Candles Attract Gnats?
Gnats are a little different and your candles might attract them, but not for the fragrant scents unless you’ve got a little honey in there. Gnats are most attracted to the polar-opposites known as vinegar and honey. When it comes to candles, unless you’ve added honey or decided for some reason that vinegar candles might be amusing, then scent won’t be a factor in gnat attraction.
Gnats will instead be attracted to the flames.
This means that you might attract gnats with your candles, who will see the flame of if your candle has water around the base, they’ll see that reflection and they might just hang out around your candles. Adding a touch of citronella scent to them can help to minimize your chances of ‘gnatty’ candles or you can simply burn some separate citronellas nearby.
Fruit flies can smell fruit scents for miles, but they are much more likely to discern the scents of nearby fruits than they are going to be with your candles. The area in which your scented candle is functioning is fairly small and controlled and should be completely safe.
If you are worried, you can always light a repellant candle just to ‘hedge your bets’, but that really shouldn’t be necessary. One of the chief reasons that fruit flies get to fruits so fast is the presence of eggs in the fruit itself.
So, light up that fruit-scented candle and let the comforting scents fill your bedroom or even the whole house. The fruit flies have a lot more lucrative targets and they should leave you alone to enjoy your candles in peace!