NMSU researchers find most mosquito repellents don’t work


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – As we return to warmer temperatures outside, the countdown continues to mosquito season. A new local study just published in a national magazine may give you some guidance on which repellents to choose to protect yourself, and your family from potentially harmful illnesses.

“The consumer really needs to understand that all repellents are not equal,” said Stacy Rodriguez, laboratory manager.

The new study published by a pair of New Mexico State University researchers in a February consumer reports article could help you cut out the guesswork.

With the help of students at NMSU, Professor Immo Hansen and lab manager Stacy Rodriguez tested 11 different repellents on study people and mosquitos in a setting designed to mimic the outdoors.

“When you have a slow wind speed of two meters per second the CO2 plumes flow towards the mosquitoes in a very natural way. It’s much better than outside the wind tunnel. This is why we get such great data,” said Hansen.

Their goal is to figure out which repellents actually work to ward off mosquitoes and which don’t.

“There’s an overwhelming amount of products out there. Active ingredients are very important to consider when purchasing a repellent,” said Rodriguez.

When it comes to the best protection for you and your family, these researchers reinforce what we’ve heard for years look for products containing DEET. But they say their research found the most effective product is spray-on repellent.

If you prefer more natural products, Hansen says grab lemon eucalyptus oil, which has the active ingredient of PMD.

Do the wearable options work? Hansen says yes, but reach for the clip-on repellents instead of wristbands.

“We found that repellent bracelets have very little effect on repelling mosquitos compared to spray on repellents,” said Hansen.

What about when you’re camping or sitting on your deck in the evening using a citronella candle? Researchers say those also failed to ward off the insects.

Hansen and Rodriguez say they’re also working on creating a map that will show where you can find certain types of mosquitoes throughout the state and how resistant they are to insecticide.

For a closer look at the study, click here. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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