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Does Campfire Smoke Keep Animals & Bugs Away? (Explained)

Camping is a great way to get connected and enjoy the beauty of nature. However, bugs and animals seem to be too interested in the campfire these days. The light, food, and several other factors might be to blame. Let’s find out more. 

Does campfire smoke keep animals & bugs away?

Campfires don’t have too much of a role to play when it comes to keeping bugs and animals away, it’s the presence of humans that scares the animals. There are few bugs who are drawn to light and a campfire will work as a beacon for them. However, animals try to avoid campfires and human contact. 


Animals with higher intelligence try to avoid any sort of human contact. Bears, coyotes, deer, and other animals stay away from campfires because they know when there is a campfire then there is sure to be a human presence.

Animals won’t be striking you unless they feel cornered or threatened. You can avoid cooking food in your campfire, the delicious smell of food might attract unwanted guests in the wild.

In most cases of an animal strike, people were too ignorant and cooked & kept food in the open or they were camping near animal habitats. Relying only on campfire smoke won’t be enough to keep you from an animal strike.


You will find a huge number of bugs in the wild who are attracted to light. So creating a campfire will surely be an open invention for them. In the wild there are only a few numbers of bugs who will be annoyed by the smoke, so a campfire might be a little bit useful in terms of keeping them away.

However, some bugs can sense human presence and are attracted towards humans, even if you don’t create a campfire they will find you thanks to your body heat, sweat, and other stuff. So always bring bug repellent for safety.

Do campfires attract bugs? 

Actually, campfires do attract a number of bugs. The smoke and heat of the campfire might keep several bugs away but some bugs are attracted towards light. Bugs with positive phototaxis such as moths, flies, beetles, and many more are more likely to visit you in a campfire.

If you are thinking that only a campfire will attract bugs then you are up for a great surprise that your sweat, body heat can also attract a number of blood-sucking, disease-spreading bugs. Only relying on campfire smoke to get rid of bugs in the wild might not be as fruitful as it seems.

Do campfires keep mosquitoes away? 

Campfires don’t attract mosquitos but that doesn’t mean that the campfire smoke will be able to keep the mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes will be attracted towards humans and campfire smoke isn’t that effective to dull the lust of blood in mosquitoes.

These bugs can sense our body heat, sweat, and odor to find us even in the dark. Not only that mosquitoes can also sense the carbon dioxide we emit. So you can say humans are a living magnet for blood-sucking mosquitoes. Always apply bug repellent spray and natural remedies to keep your camp mosquito-free.

Do campfires keep bears away? 

In the wild, bears try to avoid all sorts of human contact. Hunting, road accidents, bear spray, and other protective measures might have created a deep fear in their brains, so avoiding human contact is the safest option for a bear. 

However, cooking food on a campfire always comes with a high chance to provoke any hungry bears nearby. Bears have a high sense of smell, almost two thousand times better than the average human. Preparing for winter hibernation, bears will have to eat a lot during summer, almost 80lb to 90lb every day.

So cooking in a campfire, feeding nearby animals, and not cleaning the food debris around the camp will surely attract bears.

Do campfires keep snakes away? 

When you are camping in the woods it’s kinda normal to have encounters with snakes. Normally snakes will try to avoid any sort of contact with humans unless you are in their territory.

Campfires are an indicator for the animals that there are humans nearby, it could surely come in handy avoiding any unwanted encounters with animals.  If you are camping in the woods make sure there aren’t any possible places where a snake might seek comfort.

Camping near trees, riverside, bushes will make your camp more likely to be visited by the snakes. Camping in an open space will give you a much higher chance of avoiding snake encounters. 

Will a campfire keep coyotes away? 

Coyotes are generally terrified of humans and will try their best to avoid any sort of contact. However, if you are cooking in the campfire or planning to have a BBQ on the open fire then be prepared for coyotes infiltrating the camp.

Coyotes have a strong sense of smell, so cooking food in the wild or carrying food with a strong meaty smell will be like an open invention for the coyotes.  If you also bring pets along for camping or have been feeding the nearby animals then there is a high chance that coyotes will come to investigate the area and you might have an unwanted encounter with them.

Does campfire smoke scare deer? 

Wild animals can detect human presence and try to avoid any sort of human interaction for their own safety. Deer are pretty easily sacred even by a slight noise or movement. They are the matter of target and top favorite diets for a large number of carnivore animals.

A deer will always be on alert, they have a sharp sense of smell and pretty amazing hearing to detect any nearby threat. Deer tend to travel in groups and the leader of the group will try his best to keep them out of harm’s way.

Deers will be able to sense your presence a long time before you put on a campfire, and there is a very slim chance that deers will show any sort of interest in humans or the campfire smoke. 

What can I put in a campfire to keep bugs away? 


Lavender has a soothing aromatic smell and works great in keeping all the bugs out. You can put lavender on a campfire or apply a few drops of lavender oil to your clothes. 


sage works great on keeping the annoying blood-sucking mosquitoes away. 

Lemon balm:

lemon balm will be a great herb to put on your campfire. It has a pleasant smell and is quite effective in keeping the bugs away from the camp.


a mint can be used as a food spice or a great natural remedy to solve the annoying bugs problem.


Garlic has antioxidants and lots of beneficial qualities. You can use it in your food, throw it in a campfire or just keep it hanging near your camp. If you consume garlic regularly then you can rest assured that annoying mosquitoes won’t see you as an appealing food source.


you can throw a few rosemary in a campfire, it will surely enhance the atmosphere, spreading a nice aroma, and keeping the bugs away.


You should Carry a little bit of vinegar with you while camping. Not only it brings amazing taste to your foods but also has bug repellent quality. 

How do you keep animals away from camping? 

Avoid cooking in a campfire: 

the delicious smell of cooking in a campfire will surely attract a number of hungry animals to your camp. Avoid doing that. Bring dry food or home-cooked meals, if you have no other options but to cook on a campfire then try your best to cook as far away from your tent as possible. 

Keep your food in an airtight container: 

keeping your food in an airtight container will keep it safe, the Sharp nose of bears and coyotes won’t be able to detect anything interesting, so it will surely ease your trouble. 

Don’t feed the animals:

feeding the animals while camping will sure to add on trouble. If animals move around your camp other animals might come to hunt them, and things can turn out pretty ugly in seconds.

Use snake repellent:

snakes like warm places to hide themselves. Your tent, boots, backpack might be the perfect place for a snake to hide. So always use snake repellent and be cautious about checking your belongings.

Put enough thought before Choosing a place to camp: 

you shouldn’t put your camp and campfire near any fallen tree or rocky areas. Snakes, scorpions, and other animals can easily hide under rocks and fallen tree branches.

Don’t threaten the wildlife:

When it comes to saving their life even small animals can put up a fight. Don’t try to mess with the wildlife, let them live in peace and enjoy camping.

How to make a campfire smoke more? 

Use wet woods: 

wet woods will create a lot of smoke. The moisture in the wet woods will surely come in handy making the campfire more Smokey.

Constantly throw woods on fire: 

if you constantly throw a large number of woods in the fire then it will surely create a lot of smoke. 

Hope you understood what to do and what not to do while camping. If you want to truly enjoy nature then don’t disturb the balance, please take care of your trash and put the fire down before leaving the camp.

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