Household Mosquito Repellents

Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an entomologist and integrated pest management specialist from Cornell University, said, "The original pest control option was a screen." It sounds simple, but keeping mosquitoes out of your house is the best way to stop them from biting you inside your house.

Electric mosquito "zappers" don't work. Entomologists from the University of Kentucky said that bug zappers that use ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes actually attract mosquitoes to the area being protected. Mosquitoes generally comprise only a small percentage of the insects that bug zappers kill. Flies, beetles and other innocuous flying insects comprise the majority.

According to the University of Kentucky entomologists, ultrasonic sound devices don't work to repel mosquitoes, either. The distributors of ultrasonic devices claim that they repel mosquitoes by mimicking the frequency of male mosquito wing beats. Some claim that they mimic the frequency of dragonfly wing beats, a natural predator of mosquitoes. Dr. Wayne J. Crans of Rutgers University said that these claims "border on fraud." Even if the electronic devices actually mimic the sound frequencies that they claim to, Dr. Crans said that female mosquitoes are not repelled by the sound of male mosquitoes, and that mosquitoes are not particularly afraid of dragonflies.

The household repellent that has been scientifically proven to work is citronella oil. The University of Kentucky entomologists said that citronella candles can provide some amount of protection. They said that one candle placed in the center of an outdoor table will not be effective. Rather, multiple citronella candles should be placed a few feet away from the area in which people are sitting. The Mississippi State Department of Health cited a study which reported that 3 percent concentration citronella candles offer a 42 percent reduction in mosquito bites, and regular candles offer a 23 percent reduction in mosquito bites.

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, a chemical called Permethrin effectively repels mosquitoes when it is applied to clothing and bed nets. Permethrin should never be applied directly to skin. However, it can be applied safely to mosquito netting. It has been used widely for years as a mosquito netting treatment in countries with high rates of malaria.