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Mosquitoes don’t care about your Google search for bug remedies

Staff Report //July 31, 2020//

Mosquitoes don’t care about your Google search for bug remedies

Staff Report //July 31, 2020//

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These little dudes must've missed the memo that they were supposed to be repelled by nice-smelling geraniums or garlic or high-pitched noises. (Illustration/file)The overwhelming concern over the coronavirus, including how to protect customers, employees, families and the economy, likely will continue to be with us for a while. We can’t really help you with that except to say follow local and state guidelines, and wear a mask.

But we can help with mosquito season, somewhat. The winged syringes surge in the summer, especially when it rains (hello, Isaias!), causing problems for backyard barbecues, grass cutting, gardening and pretty much any activity that gets you outside at home (or elsewhere). Suffice it to say, skeeters love pandemics.

The amount of information focused on how to repel, avoid and dispatch mosquitoes is vast, and much of it is not reliable. So we’re going the other direction and sharing some advice about what not to use. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control warns against spending your money on the following products to get rid of mosquitoes, and we added a little commentary.

Bug zappers don’t work

These don’t work against mosquitoes unless they happen to randomly fly into one. DHEC says zappers use ultraviolet light to attract bugs. Mosquitoes are attracted to scent — but not the scent of blood. Mosquitoes are lured by the scent of human skin and carbon dioxide, the National Institutes of Health says. So, you might try bathing, or you could stop breathing so much, but bug zappers tend to mostly just kill beneficial insects such as moths and beetles and a variety of harmless nighttime flying critters, DHEC says.

'Mosquito plants' are just geraniums

Citronella plant, citronella oil, not the same. (Photo/provided)A lot of homeowners plant citrosa geraniums, which are often marketed as citronella plants, as mosquito repellents. DHEC says these plants do not work, and they do not contain citronella. Scented geraniums aren’t bad, but they won’t help you fight your insect enemies. Candles that contain citronella essential oil will work, but be careful not to start a fire.

Ultrasonic sound devices just annoy dogs

You’ll likely find an anti-mosquito app on your phone’s app store that promises to repel mosquitoes through your device’s speaker. You can also buy devices that emit sound to drive away pests with the promise of a nonlethal solution to all sorts of critters, including roaches and mosquitoes. None of these works, DHEC says, but they might drive your dog crazy.

Garlic: Great for creating social distancing — unless you’re a mosquito

This makes sense because clearly vampires are repelled by garlic and mosquitoes are bloodsuckers — but despite what some marketing messages might suggest, eating garlic or taking garlic pills will not keep mosquitoes from wanting to bite you. You might find it encourages social distancing, though.