Flies, Mosquitoes, Ticks | Posted: June 11, 2021

Insect Repellents: Do They Work?

People use many different forms of insect repellents to avoid pests like mosquitoes, flies, and ticks, especially when they’re outside. As a form of pest prevention, the goal of these repellents is to deter insects using smells and other stimuli that they hate. Professional pest control is the best option to pursue if you have an ongoing insect problem, but people often need to use temporary insect repellents when spending time outdoors, traveling and working. Some forms of insect repellent are more effective than others, and we’re here to help guide you to the best option for you.


DEET Products

DEET has been around for a long time, and was first used as a pesticide. It’s a strong chemical that will repel most biting or stinging insects with great effectiveness. However, its level of strength does come with some trade-offs. It’s a harsh chemical, which means it may not be friendly to sensitive skin, is not recommended for children, may produce a bad smell, and can damage clothing, water bottles, plastic shades, and painted surfaces. It’s also not eco-friendly. However, people who live and work in areas that are easily infested by insect pests may need to take those trade-offs in order to keep pests at bay.


Citronella Candles

Citronella is a natural oil extracted from certain types of grass. It’s an eco-friendly pest repellent, and mosquitoes in particular hate its smell. This is why it’s often turned into candles for people who want to host events outdoors. However, these candles are not majorly effective because they often only contain a small percentage of concentrated citronella. It’s also difficult to know when a person is close enough to a citronella candle to actually be protected—there are too many factors to consider like the percentage of citronella, size of candle, number of candle wicks, and more. These candles may also only work for an hour or two to prevent insect pests from ruining your outdoor experience, and after that, it’s best to stick with another solution. However, a major advantage to using citronella candles is that since they aren’t applied directly to the skin, they can assist with protecting babies, young children, and people with sensitive skin.


Picaridin Products

Picaridin is a modern chemical developed in recent years to repel insects. It’s derived from natural sources, though the chemical itself is not a natural compound. However, it’s generally more eco- and skin-friendly than some other solutions (like DEET). Picaridin can be found primarily in creams, lotions, and sprays, and doesn’t leave an oily or sticky residue or a bad smell. It can also last for 7-9 hours depending on the formulation of the product. However, it can also be easily washed off by sweat or pool water, and it doesn’t do as well at repelling ticks as some stronger options.


Sonic Devices

Sonic insect repellents emit sound at a frequency that is supposed to discourage insect pests from coming near. However, most studies have shown that these repellents barely work, if at all, to repel insects, especially mosquitoes and ticks that can transmit harmful diseases.


Mosquito Wristbands and Fans

Some people who don’t like putting on bug spray or lotion prefer to put on accessories that will repel insects. Wristbands infused with bug-repellent chemicals and small, clip-on fans that emit repellent smells are often the tools of choice for such people. However, these devices have limited effects. They don’t cover your entire skin, and therefore won’t protect you completely against insects. Insect repellent fans especially aren’t particularly effective at actually repelling dangerous insects, and may contain chemicals that are potentially toxic to humans.


Contact Dodson Pest Control for Your Insect Control Needs!

If you’re in need of insect prevention and treatment at your home or business, we’re here to help, including treating outdoor grounds for biting insects. We have over 75 years of pest control experience, and our professional tools and techniques are proven to eradicate insect problems once and for all. Contact us today for a free inspection!

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