Does it work?: Thermacell patio mosquito repeller put to test

Product claims to create 15-foot zone of protection

Mosquitoes bugging you? With all the rain, the blood suckers seem to be everywhere this summer. So, what can you do if you just want to enjoy a skeeter-free patio?

First off, don’t invite them.

“When you’re talking mosquitoes, the best thing you can do is limit the places where they can reproduce -- so, standing water” said entomologist Mark VanderWerp.

Mosquitoes reproduce either in or near standing water, which can be found in several areas throughout your yard.

What about those popular citronella candles?

“Citronella candles don’t have a whole lot of potency to them,” VanderWerp said. “There is some effect, but to have full deck coverage, you’d have to start a small fire of citronella candles.”

With that in mind, the consumer team at our sister station, WDIV, in Detroit went outside with VanderWerp to test a different option - the Thermacell Patio Shield.

The product claims to create a 15-foot zone of protection around you. It’s cordless and emits a non-DEET repellent vapor and claims to form a barrier around those sitting near it.

The testers turned on the Thermacell and waited the 15 minutes required for it to form its shield. Once those 15 minutes were up, they noticed a big change: The mosquitoes that were hovering overhead minutes prior were keeping their distance.

They concluded that the Thermacell Patio Shield is an effective way to help keep mosquitoes at bay while outdoors.

The product is not exactly inexpensive. It sells for $20-$35, depending where you shop and what color you buy. Users will also need to replace the repellent pads and the fuel cartridges. For 120 hours of protection, the average cost is about $40 more.

We found the product available in stores at Home Depot, Academy Sports and Outdoors and online at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop and Amazon.