It looks like you're in . Go to your local store?

Mosquito Myths Part 1 (of 7)

by Per Johansson May 15, 2016 0 Comments

Mosquito Myths Part 1 (of 7)

Bats eat up to 600 mosquitoes an hour.

This one may have gotten started with a study in which mosquitoes were released into a room full of bats while researchers counted how many they ate. The bats consumed about 10 per minute, or 600 per hour. But mosquitoes were the only insects in the room for the hungry bats to eat. Since then, studies have found that mosquitoes make up less than 1 percent of bat diets.


Purple martins are voracious mosquito predators.

This is another scientific observation taken out of context. A researcher initially estimated that a purple martin would need to eat its body weight in mosquitoes, about 14,000 insects, every day in order to survive. However, like bats, purple martins actually prefer other prey, including dragonflies, which are mosquito predators. Mosquitoes make up less than 3 percent of the birds’ diets.


Dryer sheets make good mosquito repellents.

Several other household items are also supposed to be repellents, including banana peels and Vicks VapoRub. But repeated studies have shown that DEET is the only one that is consistently effective in blocking mosquito bites over extended periods of time. While picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus also been shown to repel mosquitoes, neither provides the same level of protection as DEET.

Lemon Joy and Listerine will kill mosquitoes.

This is an e-mail hoax debunked by The idea is that leaving pools of water with lemon dish soap, or mouthwash, around the yard will attract and kill mosquitoes. Although that is true, the mosquito would have to land and become coated in the liquid in order to die. Dish soap and mouth wash are not like insecticides in that they do not hang in the air and kill mosquitoes as they fly through.


Bug zappers are a good way to reduce mosquitoes.

While zappers do kill a large number of insects, studies have found that most of them are moths and beetles, and less than 7 percents are mosquitoes. In fact, yards with zappers typically have no fewer mosquitoes than yards without zappers.


Electronic mosquito repellers work.

Researchers have consistently found that these devices have absolutely no effect on mosquitoes at all. They don’t repel, attract or in any way change mosquito behavior or effect the number in a given area.


Citrosa plants automatically keep mosquitoes away.

These hybrids, sold as “mosquito plants,” have been engineered to add citronella oil to regular geraniums. Citronella oil does have some mosquito-repelling qualities, but just the aroma coming from the plant is not enough. The leaves have to be crushed to release the oil, and even then it must be rubbed on skin to do any good.

Per Johansson
Per Johansson