Mosquito Control Urban Myths
Several myths about mosquito repellents are out there on the internet, in conversation, even around the neighborhood, and sometimes on your neighbors themselves! How do you know which are myths and which are proven mosquito repellents?
Here’s our assessment of which methods offer effective mosquito protection, and which ones you can skip.
Warding off the vampires, are we? While this herb may be able to safe guard you against fictional characters, in reality, the only thing you will be driving away by ingesting it is everyone around you. Garlic has been known to block the olfactory sense of mosquitoes, but the amount you’d have to eat for it to work longer than a few minutes would leave you with a new unpleasant body odor.
Reality Check: It’s just not that effective. Stick with a DEET-based bug repellent.
2. Vitamin B:
Scientists have conducted several different studies on the effect this vitamin could have in repelling mosquitoes, however, no scientific facts promote it’s usage. In placebo experiments, where a number of participants received vitamin B tablets and others received the placebo, no differences were recorded to suggest that there is any effectiveness in this myth.
Reality Check: Take a B Vitamin if you need energy, but don’t expect it to keep the mosquitoes away.
Testing on this particular suggestion came back with a variety of results. Some at home studies have shown that bananas actually attract more mosquitoes while others did not experience an increase or decrease of bites or mosquito activity near them. Scientific tests have proven a range of results as well. Some conclude that more mosquitoes were attracted when a banana is first ingested and hours later that there is little activity or fewer mosquito bites occurred.
Reality Check: Eh, try it and find out for yourself. It won’t hurt … unless you get bitten. In which case, try these tips on how to treat mosquito bites.
4. Mobile Apps/Sound Frequency:
Research has sought to find a frequency that would repel mosquitoes, however, all tests prove ineffective. None have returned results that evidently decrease mosquito bites. In fact, female mosquitoes cannot hear very well, which is an important point given that females are the only mosquitoes that bite humans. Additionally, they are more attracted to factors such as moisture, body odor, warmer temperatures and carbon dioxide.
Reality Check: Science points to a definite “no” on this one.
It has been duly noted that drinking beer may in fact attract more of these pests your way. Consuming alcohol causes a change in body temperature which may potentially make you a tasty treat for mosquitoes on the hunt. Also, given that most people sweat more when consuming alcohol, the extra moisture can also be inviting.
Reality Check: This one is actually true. Studies have proven that mosquitoes are attracted to you outdoor beer swiggers after all. So hop back on the wagon if you want to avoid these brew-thirsty ‘skeeters.
6. Dryer Sheets/Fabric Softener:
At home usage has shown results that generic dryer sheets may have some effectiveness as a home remedy in repelling these blood suckers by either wearing the sheet attached to your clothing or wiping exposed areas before going outside. It has been suggested that there is an ingredient that makes humans less attractive as prey, however, there is not any scientific evidence to support this claim.
Reality Check: Like the bananas, you can take this one for a spin. The worse that could happen: you’ll smell Downy fresh all day.
7. Lemon Joy/Lemon Dish Soaps:
This has been a big hit on the Internet. Many claims suggest putting a few drops of a lemon scented soap in water to ward off these bugs. In reality, it hasn’t shown any effectiveness unless the bugs hop into the bowl and smother themselves with soapy particles. And science has yet to conclude that lemon is a mosquito killer. There is not any evidence to support that mosquitoes will flock to any of these products because of their scent.
Reality Check: We suggest saving the dish soap for the, well, dishes.
This is another chart-topper claim online. Mouthwash does have small traces of eucalyptol, a natural mosquito deterrent, although the content in the product is so minimal it wouldn’t be effective for very long. Most eucalyptus-based repellents contain high concentrations – at around 75 percent. The content in mouthwash is usually below 1 percent.
Reality Check: We’re not buying this one, either.
The Real Tips:
> Drain any standing water around your home every 4-5 days
Mosquito eggs mature to adults in about 5-14 days and love to breed in standing water. Check for pots, pans, trash can lids or anything else that might collect water.
> Wear loose-fitting clothing
Some suggest that lighter color clothing that doesn’t fit too snugly is appropriate and effective in keeping mosquitoes from feasting on humans.
> Use DEET repellent
DEET has been proven to block receptors that allow the bugs to detect and prey on humans.
While keeping mosquitoes a bay is the project at hand, make sure you know the facts before investing.