Are these products effective at repelling mosquitoes and/or relieving bites?
The idea to test these products have come from questions from curious members of our community and from online investigation. We have collected a repelling bracelet, an insect repelling essential oil, and a bite remedy for further testing.
Materials and Methods:
For this test, we used an insect cage containing various floodwater mosquito larvae and adults. Mosquitoes that live in a floodwater environment are generally more aggressive and more likely to attempt a blood meal. The mosquitoes were collected from various breeding sites from within our district, fed a sugar water solution, and kept in a warm, humid environment (about 85 F degrees and 70% humidity) within the insectory.
MosquitoNo brand wristband
- Contains citronella oil
- Safe for children 3 and up
- Light, inexpensive, resealable packaging
Plant Therapy Essential Oil
- Contains: citronella oil, Eucalyptus globulus, cedarwood, lemongrass, lavender, may chang, tea tree oil, patchouli and catnip
- Generally positive reviews online
- Can be applied either directly on clothes and skin in a dilution or used in a diffuser
Two different solutions were made to see if the carrier liquid also played a part in repelling mosquitoes. Witch hazel and apple cider vinegar (figure 1) have been shown to be effective carriers for the oil, so these were chosen. Both were mixed with the same dilution of 5% (30 mL of carrier liquid, 30 drops of oil) in 2.4 ounce spray bottles (figure 2).
Zap-IT! mosquito bite relief
- Delivers a small electric current directly on the mosquito bite, claiming to offer relief from itching and swelling.
- Place directly on the bite to administer the current.
To test these products, Colby's arm was inserted into the rearing cage, first with no product as a control, followed by the bracelet, and two mixtures of essential oil. Her arm was thoroughly cleaned between each test. Landing rates were taken by timinmg one minute, and counting how many mosquitoes attempted a blood meal during that time. This was repeated twice more and an average was taken for each product and control. The Zap-IT! bite relief was used on one mosquito bite obtained during the test.
Average Landing Rate
Control (no product)
Oil with Witch Hazel
l with ACV
Conclusions for Bracelet and Essential oil:
The MosquitNo bracelet and both mixtures of insect essential oil seemed to repel mosquitoes when compared to no repellent at all. The essential oil diluted with apple cider vinegar seemed to be the most effective as a repellent. Further testing is needed to determine how these would compare against more common repellents.
Conclusion for Bite Relief:
The Zap-IT product seemed to bring slight relief to the bite, though this test is inconclusive due to only being administered to one bite. The initial shock of the current is also jarring, and it does not seem any more effective than using rubbing alcohol. Further testing will be needed to compare to rubbing alcohol.