Cart 0

Lemongrass vs Citronella: What Repels Mosquitoes the Best?

Mosquito Repellent

Of all the natural mosquito repellents, citronella is the most commonly known solution. Every summer, nurseries and garden centers load up on “citronella” plants for patios and landscapes, and natural mosquito repellents boast a “citronella scent.” In fact, citronella is not the real name of the plant that’s effective in repelling mosquitoes. Find out which all-natural plants Best Bee Brothers use in our All Natural Mosquito Repellent Spray!

Citronella vs Lemongrass: What’s the difference?

Citronella or “mosquito” plants are actually scented geraniums, a variety called Pelargonium citrosum that has very little if any ability to repel mosquitoes. However, citronella as we think of it is actually an essential oil produced by the leaves and stems of lemongrass plants. A completely different plant, the Cymbopogon (lemongrass) genus, produces the perfumed oil.1

Citronella plants (or Pelargonium citrosum) are commonly thought to be the best at repelling mosquitos. However, Lemongrass (or Cymbopogon) is superior. 

Do we use citronella or lemongrass to repel mosquitoes?

So when people ask us why all our Natural Mosquito Repellent products use lemongrass oil instead of citronella, the answer is simple— while the two smell very similar, we use lemongrass oil because it works! (And lemongrass, in our opinion, smells mighty nice!)

The oil from lemongrass (or Cymbopogon) is used to create the perfumed oil which repels mosquitos.

While studies support lemongrass oil as a bug repellent, it does require frequent reapplication. To repel mosquitoes most effectively, reapply lotions and sprays every 30–60 minutes.2  When compared to DEET, which is recommended for reapplication every 4 hours, this can seem like a nuisance. But lemongrass is natural, nontoxic, and has no known long-term effects according to the EPA.If you are looking for a natural alternative that requires zero application, our Bug Repellent Bands are skin-safe and easy to use! 

Remember, pure lemongrass oil should never be used on the skin, so be sure any product you use on your skin is diluted with a carrier oil or a blend of ingredients that are safe for external use, like our Natural Mosquito Repellent.

When used correctly and reapplied as directed, lemongrass oil can help keep flying pests away on hot summer days. For more natural pest control options, check out our growing collection of all-natural mosquito products.


  1. “Citronella Oil.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Nov. 2019,
  2. CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada,
  3. “Oil of Citronella.” US EPA, EPA, 1997,

Older Post Newer Post

Article Comments

  • Customer Support on

    @Joseph Kinkade – We do not recommend using our oil as lamp oil. It is not a pure oil which is what you would want for burning. The pray has a carrier oil so it safe on your skin. ~Best Bee Brothers

  • Joseph Kinkade on

    Can you use your lemongrass oil as a lamp oil and if so, is it effective at repelling mosquitoes when burned in this manner? Thank you for your advice.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published