Does Burning Coffee Grounds Actually Repel Mosquito?

brown mosquito

Before stumbling across some information on using coffee grounds to repel mosquitoes, this question gave me some sleepless nights. I can remember how I used to scratch my head! Now, before I tell you what I found, why do you think burnt coffee grounds repel mosquitoes? 

I’m certain you are scratching your head. Well, as I await your answer, here is what I found.

Quick summary 

  • According to EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to keep pests away.
  • They can be used to repel not only mosquitoes but also annoying insects like bees and wasps.
  • Some websites reported that during the Zika virus outbreak in 2016, coffee grounds were used as the best option.
  • They are a cheaper alternative to artificial sprays, especially if you spend most of the time outside.

Why are coffee grounds effective?

Coffee grounds have a strong smell, which gets stronger when they are burned. Now, considering most bugs have a very sense of smell, they will be bothered by the grounds smell keeping them away. Besides, since to most insects smoke signals danger, they will surely find shelter elsewhere when they detect any smoke.

Does drinking coffee repel mosquitoes?

Unfortunately, no. They would have to smell caffeine on you. Coffee grounds have a strong smell, but much stronger when burnt. This scent will annoy and hold pests away.

Can I just rub coffee grounds on my body?

Rubbing your skin’s coffee grounds won’t hurt, but it won’t help either. But if you can monitor where the mosquitoes live, you can at least slow the growth of potential pests, if not kill them.

How do you use coffee grounds to get rid of mosquitoes?

coffee grounds

Do the following to burn your coffee grounds:

  • Start with dry grounds. They can either be fresh or leftover coffee grounds. If used, make sure they are completely dry.
  • Place them in a bowl or a flat surface.
  • Burn them as you would burn incense.
  • Pick a spot upwind of your location for the best results.
  • You can add fresh bay leaves to the fire for an extra dose of repellent. 
  • If outdoor, you may want to set up several burning spots surrounding why you are gathered.

Inhibiting the growth of mosquito larvae

Another study suggests that burnt coffee grounds, together with caffeine, impede the growth of mosquito larvae. This happens because caffeine prevents mosquitoes from swimming up to the surface, killing them before becoming adults. Caffeine and diterpenes, can be highly toxic to insects.

Side note: 

  • This study only focused on mosquito species Aedes aegypti. Other species may respond differently. Be careful! 
  • Caffeine has different effects on different insects. For mosquitoes, it stops them from swimming up to the surface. 
  • Some mosquito larvae could benefit from the introduction of coffee grounds. So, if not certain about the species, be cautious as they can multiply instead of vanishing.
READ Related Article:  How to Read a Fortune in Turkish Coffee Grounds

How to achieve this:

  • Burn used coffee grounds. It is up to you whether to use recently used grounds or not. 
  • Spread them around. You may be forced to pour coffee grounds into every source of water you have if not sure where to find them.  
  • You will either prevent larvae development or give them free food. It is risky, but worth it.

 I’m still waiting for your answer. Use the comment section to shares your answer, findings, or anything you found!

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Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.