How to Choose the Best Mosquito Repellent

Author: Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge

There are so many products out there, so how do you know what’s best when it comes to NOT getting mosquito bites? The commercials are nonstop this time of year… but they are just trying to sell you something. And crazy home remedies always exist. Are you burning cow dung and coconut shells in the backyard? Bet your neighbors would love that!

How about some scientific research? An article from NPR gathered data from several scientists from different organizations who have studied what works for repelling mosquitoes.

Hint: it has nothing to do with cow dung.

What Works to Repel Mosquitoes

Dr. Immo Hansen and lab manager Stacey Rodriguez of the New Mexico State University Institute of Applied Biosciences published a study in the Journal of Insect Science in 2015 about the effectiveness of different insect repellents from the time they are applied to four hours after. What they found were the repellents that contained DEET works the best and the longest. DEET has been around since 1957 and while there has been some concern about a link to neurological problems caused by it, animal testing, observation, and trials show no proof of adverse effects from use.

Luckily, if you still aren’t okay with the use of DEET, there is a natural alternative that works almost as well according to this study. The natural oil extracted from the lemon eucalyptus tree, known as PMD, works almost as well and as long as DEET does. A third options that the CDC endorses is a clip-on device made by the Off brand. You wear it attached to your clothes, and it blows out a repellent with a small fan. Perfect for parents at ball games or at the family picnic. The strangest result of this study is that a Victoria Secret perfume called Bombshell also works excellently as a repellent. So smell good and keep mosquitoes away all at once. Win/Win right? Dr. Dan Strickman, of the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also says that picaridin and IR3535 are effective ingredients in insect repellent. The CDC endorses all of these as well.

What Doesn’t Work

We will leave out the home remedies on this list; no one even knows where some of these silly ideas come from. But what about the ones that you still see everywhere? Citronella candles… don’t work. Those bracelets that are supposed to be great for kid, they don’t either. Ultrasonic noise device there is no sign that mosquitoes are affected by sound at all. Avon Skin So Soft products, repellent skin patches, and other natural repellents were no more effective than no repellent at all according to this study. Sorry if you have these in your cabinet. It appears they are a waste of time.

Something New that Repels Mosquitoes for Days

Most repellents have to be reapplied every 2 to 4 hours (always be sure to read the manufacturer’s suggestion), but what if you could apply something that lasted for days? How great would that be for your next camping trip? A group of doctors in Massachusetts is working on just that. They call it Hour 72 Plus and say it can work…yep, you guessed it… 72 hours. By using the same technology used in surgical adhesive, the repellent adheres to the skin and stays on. They hope to have it in stores next year.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas about how to choose the right repellent when you are in unprotected spaces; however, what about when you are at home? There is a better way. Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge wants to save you from sprays and perfumes and clip-on fans. Our barrier spray will eliminate 85-90% of the existing mosquitoes on your property and continues to protect for up to three weeks. Why have to spray yourself every 2 hours to avoid mosquito bites when you can simply eliminate the mosquitoes? Call us today at (978) 381-4028 and let us be the ones to repel the mosquitoes in your outdoor living spaces.