This article was published originally on 6/14/2013
Speaking of mosquito control (article elsewhere in this issue) here is a list of alleged mosquito bite preventions that don’t work:
- Citronella candles. (Standing directly in the smoke reduces biting by approximately 40% while dispersed smoke is of no benefit.)
- Mosquito repellent plant. (Little if any Citronella is released by a stationary plant; leaves would have to be crushed to release the repellent.)
- Purple martins. (Mosquitoes are insignificant in their diet.)
- Bats. (Bats eat a wide and varied diet of moths, beetles, gnats, mosquitoes and others.)
- Ultraviolet or black lights “bug zappers.” (More beneficial insects than biting pests are caught.)
- Sonic devices, including cell phone apps and other electronic mosquito repellents that allege to produce high-pitched sounds that mosquitoes don't like. See BBC News Magazine, December 10, 2012.
- Vitamin B, garlic, pepper and other dietary supplements. (No research evidence of effectiveness.)
What does work?
- Avoid outdoor activity during peak mosquito activity times: one hour before until one hour after sundown.
- Wear light color and loose fitting clothing
- Use personal repellents with a low to moderate concentration of active ingredient. See the CDC website on repellents.
- Use repellent sparingly to reduce unnecessary or excessive exposure.
- Don’t apply repellent near eyes, on lips, or on broken skin
- Apply to your face by spraying your palm and then spreading the repellent carefully
- Don’t use near food
- Wash repellent off with soap and water when it’s no longer needed.