This isn't a simple question to answer. Why? Because all repellents don't work the same for all species of mosquitoes. If you're looking for the best possible protection, you may have to combine products to get the job done. Let's look at the problem and see how you can best protect yourself from dangerous mosquito bites.
All mosquitoes that bite are not capable of spreading all diseases. The mosquitoes we are most concerned about in Houston are the Aedes sp. and Culex sp. There carry Zika virus, West Nile, Dengue, yellow fever, Chikungunya, malaria, and several distinct forms of encephalitis.
In an extensive recent survey, in which 102 publications were presented, there were several products considered to be most effective at controlling these two types of mosquitoes, of which there are several species.
Aedes Mosquitoes — For species of mosquito from this genus, DEET at a concentration of 20% or more was found to provide 10 hours of protection. Contrastingly, citronella products were found to be less effective in preventing bites. Within the genus, Aedes aegypti were found to be more difficult to repel and Aedes albopictus.
Culex Mosquitoes — For species of mosquitoes of this genus, and also the genus Anopheles, it was found that all products tested, including DEET, Icaridin, and IR3535 products provided 4 to 10 hours of protection.
Ixodes ticks — also tested in this extensive survey of studies were ticks of the Ixodes genus. It was found that the longest protection was provided by an application of IR3535, though one species, Ixodes ricinus, was best repelled by Icaridin. Fortunately, Ixodes ricinus, also known as castor bean ticks, is not a significant threat in our service area.
It was found in this survey and in other studies outside the scope of this survey, that repellents utilizing natural ingredients such as cepscian, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass and garlic can little or no effect in deterring bites. There was, however some success with oil of lemon eucalyptus products. If you're looking for a natural mosquito deterrent, this is the best way to go.
Zika Virus Specific
In a separate study, conducted by the Zika foundation, it was found that a mixture of Sawyer Picaridin and Natrapel 8 hours, mixed with an application of Deep Woods Off, provided the best protection from mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus. This was found to provide 6 to 8 hours of protection from laboratory-raised Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and also Culex sp.
If you're looking to repel mosquitoes in Houston, it is our recommendation, based on the results of these and other studies, that products with Picaridin and DEET are the best solution. And, we recommend products with lemon eucalyptus at a strength of at least 30% for natural repellents.
Backyard Mosquito Protection
Mosquito repellents are the best way to protect yourself and your kids from mosquitoes when you're out in public areas. But, in your backyard, there are other solutions for repelling mosquitoes that won't require you to apply chemicals to your skin—even if they are chemicals derived from natural sources like lemon eucalyptus. Here are some tips:
- Remove sources of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Reduce moisture to make your landscaping less inviting to mosquitoes when they look for a place to hide in the daytime.
- Consider planting insect-repelling plants in your landscaping.
- Use screen material to protect outdoor recreation areas.
- If you'll be sitting in one place and you are not protected by screens, use a fan to keep mosquitoes from landing on you. This will also help to keep you cool.
- Wear bright colors to make it harder for mosquitoes to lock onto you.
- If possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of pants to give mosquitoes less skin to feed on.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol outside, all it takes is one beer to make you more attractive to mosquitoes.
- Consider investing in mosquito reduction service from Modern Pest Control. Houston residents see a big difference when they choose Modern for their mosquito reduction service because the treatments and products we use are the most advanced and most effective available.
There is no better way to repel mosquitoes in your backyard than to invest in seasonal mosquito treatments or to have a mosquito-misting system installed. Learn more by reaching out to us today. We're here to help.