If you have tried to enjoy a spring or summer evening outdoors only to find yourself spending the entire time trying to keep the mosquitoes at bay, you have probably tried almost every “remedy” offered on the internet or by a friend or family member. Unfortunately, many of these tactics have no scientific basis and do little to control the mosquito population in your yard. The following are a few of the most common mosquito myths that we hear from customers.
Myth: There are parts of the United States that do not have mosquito-borne diseases.
Fact: All parts of the U.S. have various species of mosquitoes capable of transmitting bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases, such as West Nile, dengue fever, and yellow fever. The tiger mosquito, which made its way to the U.S. from Asia, is a prolific disease carrier and can be found in the Eastern and Central United States.
Myth: All mosquitoes bite humans.
Fact: Only the females of certain species bite humans. The female mosquito needs the protein found in blood in order to reproduce.
Myth: The welt left by the mosquito is caused by its teeth.
Fact: Mosquitoes do not have teeth. Instead, they have a needle-like proboscis attached to their mouth that is equipped with sharp edges that puncture the skin. The welt that you see is caused by a reaction to the chemical that the mosquito secretes to keep the blood from clotting too quickly.
Myth: Natural bug repellents using essential oils are just as effective as repellents containing chemicals.
Fact: While it is true that peppermint, lavender, and other essential oils may have limited mosquito-repelling properties, they are not as effective as commercial preparations. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using a product that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or p-methnane-diol.
Myth: Garlic, bananas, and B vitamins will make you less attractive to mosquitoes.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that the vitamins or the foods that you consume offer any protection from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are primarily attracted by the carbon dioxide that you exhale and your body heat. That is why larger individuals, pregnant women, and individuals who may be sweating and breathing hard from physical activity are prime targets for mosquitoes.