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MOSQUITO REPELLENTS TESTED AND RATED

By Chris Williams on December 29, 2017.

It’s winter and maybe you are already thinking about next summer – anticipating the hot sun, bright blue sky, and…mosquitoes! Researchers at New Mexico State University may have some data that can help you prepare for the next mosquito season. They tested several popular mosquito repellents, including the newer “wearable devices” such as repellent bracelets or sonic repellers.

Some people think that any mosquito repellent that they buy will work just fine, but repellency of the products can differ widely. In recent years, there has been an abundance of new “natural” repellent products, most containing plant oils or herbs, as well as a variety of non-spray, wearable repellent devices. Many of these products don’t work well despite their claims, but surprisingly some do.

The research study tested 5 wearable devices, 5 repellent sprays, and one repellent candle, Cutter Citro Guard (3% oil of citronella).

Wearable Mosquito Repellent Products Tested

• OFF! Clip-On nebulizer (Metofluthrin)
• PIC Personal Sonic Mosquito Repeller
• Mosquitoavert Repellent Bracelet (Geraniol)
• Mosquito-No! Repellent Bracelet (30% Geraniol oil)
• Invisaband (30% Geraniol oil)

Mosquito Spray Repellent Products Tested

• Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus (30%)
• All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor (mixture of essential oils)
• Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin (10% picaridin)
• Repel Sportsmen Max Formula (40% DEET)
• Ben’s Tick & Insect Repellent (98% DEET)

The testing was done using females of the Aedes aeqypti mosquito, the species of greatest concern at the moment since it transmits the Zika virus, as well as yellow fever and other serious human diseases.

DEET IS STILL THE WINNER!

The main finding was that spray repellents worked better than other types of applications or devices. It was no surprise that DEET is still the best spray repellent after 70 years in use. Products containing adequate amounts of DEET continue to offer the best and the longest-lasting protection from mosquitoes.

Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus spray containing 30% oil of eucalyptus also tested well. The other three sprays worked to varying degrees. Kids Herbal Armor which is a mixture of essential oils (soybean, citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, geranium, etc.) performed as well as a 40% DEET solution. The PIC sonic repeller and the bracelets showed no effect at all. The citronella candle had no effect. The OFF! Clip-On nebulizer, however, did show some repellent properties.

If you still don’t know which mosquito repellent to choose, it’s safe to say that DEET remains your best bet. Some people object to the odor and feel of DEET and some experts recommend only lower amounts of DEET for children. Some of the newer essential oils can offer alternative protection. For more guidance, see Choosing and Using Insect Repellents or visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevent Mosquito Bites… and feel free to think summery thoughts.

[Source: Efficacy of Some Wearable Devices Compared with Spray-On Insect Repellents for the Yellow Fever Mosquito, Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae). Rodriguez, Stacy D., et. al. Journal of Insect Science, Vol. 17, #1, Jan. 2017]

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