How to Deal With Mosquitoes
By Carlos Morales
With reports of West Nile virus hitting the region, many Central Texans are wondering what they can do to keep mosquitos away. That has people turning to just about any remedy that could keep them bite-free.
We all know about mosquito body sprays, but how about a bracelet? That’s one thing some have tried in order to keep mosquitoes away. According to one product’s website, these bracelets essentially work by producing an “aura” of plant-based oils that act like a protective shield — something they say mosquitoes won’t like at all.
But these bracelets might not be that effective.
“I think there’s actually a study conducted by the Canadian Family Physician’s Group where they actually tested the bracelet against other repellents and the bracelet and bands did not seem to have an effect, a positive effect,” said Phil Huang with Travis County Health and Human Services.
If a bracelet won’t do the trick, how about bananas? The effects there are a little confusing. Some claim eating bananas will ward off mosquitoes; others say it actually attracts them. But Huang says there’s no definitive connection between the two.
There are more science-based alternatives. The Mosquito Co., based in Houston, offers a misting system that repels and kills mosquitoes.
“They’re very similar to cooling systems that you might find in a restaurant or a bar, which a lot of places in Austin have to keep the air cool — same premise, they atomize the water molecules to create a mist,” said company President Steve Blalock.
When it comes to mosquito repellents like bracelets and misters, both Huang and Blalock say it comes down to what’s in the product and not the product itself.
“Certainly it has to do with what’s in it,” Blalock said. “If you’re spraying water it’s not going to do much to get rid of mosquitoes. But if you’re spraying DEET that kills everything in sight, probably including the humans, then it works pretty well. So certainly it has to do something with what’s in it.”
In the end, Huang says if you really want to avoid being bitten, the most effective treatment is simple: Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.