Did You Know

Most Mosquito Repellents Don't Actually Work, Here's Why

Healthline / Inhabitat

According to Statista, which includes stats and studies from more than 22,000 sources, mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures in the world.

These bugs can transmit diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever, and more.

The better we understand what deters mosquitoes away from us, but doesn't endanger our own health and the well-being of the planet, the closer we'll get to living in a paradise (almost).

The issue is that global warming isn't helping the mosquito problem we're experiencing today, in fact it's making things worse.

Cold-blooded insects love warm and humid environments, and our hot summers are only encouraging them to produce at larger numbers.

Of course, this is worrisome, but what's even more scary is that many people aren't using the right insect repellent, putting them at risk of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases.

Research vs Myth

Researchers at New Mexico's State University College of Arts and Sciences tested 10 popular mosquito repellents and discovered that many commercial products aren't as effective as you would think.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Insect Science in 2015, found that only the DEET products they tested were strong enough to repel mosquitoes, while other products, like natural fragrances, bracelets, skin patches had varied results.

mosquitofixes • Mosquito control reviews and guides / GAIN EXPRESS

Mosquito repellents that come from natural ingredients seem like the right choice, but unfortunately this seemingly healthier alternative hasn't been found to be very effective most of the time.

Also, traps, ultrasonic devices, and smartphone apps sound too good to be true, and they really are.

While pure DEET is probably not the safest thing to be spraying on your body, research has found that if you use DEET as directed on the mosquito repellent can, it's wont' cause any adverse reactions.

Just make sure to avoid buying products with extremely high amounts of DEET, and follow the instructions on the bottle.

As for the environment, the CDC says spraying DEET doesn't pose a risk. They argue that the chemical is broken down by sunlight, which will eventually disappear.

If you rather not spray DEET on your body, but want to find an effective way to repel mosquitoes, a study found that OFF!'s Clip-on is the only wearable mosquito repellent that actually deters those pesky bugs.

You can buy two-packs of this fan for only $26, and it will give you up to 12 hours of mosquito-free protection.

The Natural Alternative

The reason why many natural alternatives don't work is because you're probably buying the wrong ones.

According to NowThis Future, oil of lemon and eucalyptus sprays repel mosquitoes by at least 60%.

And one study published in the American Chemical Society found that catnip repels mosquitoes more effectively than DEET.

The researchers discovered that at high doses, nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its strong odor, is 49% to 59% effective in repelling mosquitoes.

At low doses, the effectiveness ranged from 39% to 53%. That's still a lot!

Right now, Amazon is selling 100% pure catnip essential oil for only $14. Applying some onto your skin may be the just the thing you need to give you more peace of mind this summer.

It's still a mystery why mosquitoes hate the smell of DEET and certain essential oils, but we have no choice but to work with what we have.

At the end of the day, mosquitoes may just find you irresistible. If you get bitten no matter what you apply, but your friends are left unscathed, click here to find out why.

What mosquito repellent do you swear by?

Just so you know, Shared may collect a share of sales or other compensation from some of the links on this page. However, we only choose products we would or have purchased ourselves.

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for almost a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.