Image changed from source: http://f.hatena.ne.jp/trini/20040718135756
Due to their effectiveness coils are one of the most used area repellents in South America, Africa and Asia. Once lit the spirals fight off many annoying insects that can cause nasty bites. Mosquito coils are easy to set up and you can take them anywhere you want. That’s why you see them on every street in Thailand, Malaysia or even Japan during summer.
The main ingredient that makes them effective is dried Pyrethrum, an insecticide which helps to keep mosquitoes at bay. After you lite them the burning coils continue to smolder. The repellent smoke is used to create a bug free zone in your garden or while camping.
During my field test out in the woods they really worked as advertised and prevented mosquitoes from biting me. Even in high risk areas most mosquitoes avoided to fly around our tents.
Although coils don’t provide 100% protection (I noticed 2-3 bites over the course of a night outdoors) they proved to be very effective for avoiding biting insects.
The only downside is that they don’t work that well if it’s windy. The smoke gets dissipated and mosquitoes will come back. However it’s very easy to come up with a solution, I usually place the coil underneath a table and it works. Additionally, just use one trick mentioned below and they won’t make a mess at all.
If you look for an effective area repellent, mosquito coil is your right choice. In comparison to more sophisticated solutions like traps or granules they are easy to set up, don’t need much space and seem to be the perfect choice for trips. The smoke greatly reduces the number of little bloodsuckers and stops their harassment almost immidealty. That’s not only very satisfying but also prevents dangerous diseases.
I did several outdoor trips to other countries and this is my recommendation:
These spirals come with a great form factor which is important for travelling. I personally use them when I’m out in the woods and I’m very satisfied with them. They keep mosquitoes off and tend to smell ‘okay’.
One coil last around 4 hours which is long enough for a chat with friends by the campfire. The area they cover varies but most of the time I use them for around 8 ft. x 8ft. Of course it’s easy to combine several coils together to keep more of your garden or camping site mosquito-free.
The smell is noticeable and some users may not like it. However I found that the distinctive scent is a good way to know if the coils are working or not. For me it’s not very off-putting and the alternative of getting bitten by endless hordes of mosquitoes sounds far more unpleasant.
Overall I really like how easy the Fresh Scent coils are to use. Just put them on a holder and light them. Most of the time you don’t have to do anything because they just plain work. Mosquitoes hate its ingredients and stay away from you and your family.
I’m surprised that so few people seem to know about these and complain how messy it is to use mosquito coil. Fortunately there is a wide selection of different coil burners which save you the hassle of cleaning up your campsite.
Holders like the one from Coghlan I use not only make it easier to place the spiral on the ground but also allow you to hang them vertically. Sometimes this is a great way to put more coils into use.
Coils are not intended to be used indoors because they smolder continually. Like all kinds of smoke it’s usually not very healthy to inhale it.
A study examined the effects of burning mosquito coil indoors and concludes that it bears some severe risks. Other studies have shown health risks of coil inside houses as well. However keep in mind this research only covered indoor use where smoke can’t dissipate.
Additionally most of the coils that got examined were produced in Asian countries which tend to have less strict regulations. Some researchers also suggest that it’s very hard to compare results from the lab with reality’s health concerns.
Despite 2 billion users worldwide there seems to be no indisputable evidence regarding the risk of mosquito coil. In comparison to mosquito borne diseases they are still a good choice if no other options are available to repel nasty insects.
You really should follow some guidelines to minimize the risk: Only buy products that follow US regulation and don’t use them indoors. Whenever possible you can try other solutions like repellents or mosquito traps that bear less risk. Use mosquito killers in your yard to diminish its bug population.
That said I still use mosquito coil from time to time. I’ve yet to find another product that repels mosquitoes from a large area as effectively and is as easy to set up and transport. In comparison to dangerous mosquitoes they seem to be the far better alternative. I doubt that I inhale a lot of smoke if I place them outside of my tent.
In my garden I prefer other solutions like anti-mosquito granules and traps. These products work reliable and don’t have as many potential side effects as mosquito coil.