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Spray-on mosquito repellents are more effective than other devices

Bracelets and citronella candles don’t help

By
1:00pm, March 28, 2017
bug spray, repellent bracelet and a citronella candle

TESTING OPTIONS  Bug sprays with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus (left) deter mosquitoes better than repellent bracelets (middle) or citronella candles (right), a new study suggests.

Mosquitoes are more than an itchy nuisance. They can carry serious diseases, including Zika, West Nile, yellow fever and chikungunya. Now after testing 11 types of mosquito repellents, researchers say they’ve identified the products most effective at warding off the bloodsuckers.

Spray-on repellents with DEET or a refined tree extract called oil of lemon eucalyptus are most likely to keep you bite-free, the scientists report online February 16 in the Journal of Insect Science. The OFF! Clip-On repellent, which puffs out a vapor of the chemical metofluthrin, killed every mosquito in the cage. But Hansen says the mosquitoes couldn’t escape, so they probably got a higher dose than they would in a natural setting.

Other tested repellents such as a citronella candle simply don’t work, says study coauthor Immo Hansen, an insect physiologist at New Mexico State University

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