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  • Myths of Mosquito Prevention

    Mosquito bites are annoyingly itchy and uncomfortable. Naturally, there is quite the market out there for helping people avoid mosquito bites. In this market, most of the products and advice is pretty helpful. However, as is often the case anytime there’s a dollar to be made, there’s a couple of ineffective products and bits of wisdom as well. Let’s expose some of the less useful ways to avoid mosquito bites that are commonly practiced:

    Bug Zappers

    Everyone’s personal favorite: the fluorescent blue light that makes a charming little buzz-noise every time a mosquito flies towards his death. Every buzz you hear is one less bite you have to worry about, right? Wrong! Bug zappers have been shown to be wholly ineffective in lowering mosquito populations in any given area where they are used. For every zap you hear, there’s only about a 1-3% chance that it was a female mosquito responsible for producing the charming sound. The other 99%? Beetles, moths, and male mosquitoes (who don’t bite) among other random insects. People have been using this popular device for decades without realizing it’s doing them no good. In most cases, a bug zapper actually does more harm than good! How is this so? Because it is typically the only form of mosquito-bite prevention people use when outdoors during darker hours. This allows the mosquitoes to feast on DEET-free skin all night long.

    Vitamin B

    Whoever started the rumor that ingesting vitamin B supplements helps deter mosquitoes from biting you has a pretty active imagination. In truth, this claim has no validity. While the makers of vitamin supplements would like you to think otherwise, ingesting vitamin B supplements has been shown to have no effect on deterring mosquitoes. The same can be said for garlic supplements which also have a reputation for helping dissuade the pesky insects from biting.

    DEET is not safe/Alternative all-natural products work just as well

    There are a lot of companies that claim DEET is unsafe and that you should use their all-natural insect repellent instead. This is bogus advice. Not only is DEET perfectly safe, but it is by far the most effective way to prevent mosquito bites. Studies suggest that DEET can cause seizures in about one in 100 million users. In other words, your chances of having a health issue relating to DEET usage is not too much higher than your chances of keeling over dead before you finish reading this sentence.