By spring at the latest, the devices that are supposed to protect us from mosquitoes are appearing everywhere again. Some promise to drive away the annoying bloodsuckers, others want to attract and destroy them. Both are nonsense and you should rather spend your money on other means.
Advertisements for “LED mosquito repellents” or “ultrasonic mosquito repellents” are not only encountered in discounter brochures. A large part of these offers on Amazon even promise comprehensive pest control. The only problem with these promises: mosquitoes have not read them and do not keep to them.
The truth: Mosquitoes do not react to UV light!
As a trained biologist (For the doubters in the comments section – the title of the thesis was: “The molecular weight of long-chain muscle proteins in the byssus retractor of Mytilus edulis”) the hairs on the back of my neck stand up regularly when I read about UV light traps or ultrasonic sticks for mosquito control.
Insects are specialists. They have specialized in certain stimuli that attract them. This is meant to lead to either more food or more sex — an insect’s desires are simple.
Sometimes there are stimuli that clash with the original pattern. Moths or flies do not benefit from being attracted to a lantern or UV light. Still, they can’t resist the call. Appropriate traps take advantage of this. In addition, stimuli can also drive an animal away. Loud noises are part of it, smells, but also ultrasound.
Some animals have an Achilles heel, so to speak, that can be exploited. Mosquitoes are not one of them. They are not attracted to light, no matter what you have been told. “First close the windows and then turn on the light, otherwise mosquitoes will be attracted” is nonsense. With the window open, the mosquitoes are immediately attracted to their victim. From his smells and the CO2-Concentration of breathing air. That’s why they find their victims so accurately even in the dark.
However, it has also been found that female mosquitoes – and only they suck blood(!) – avoid the males after mating. However, the assumption that this is related to the noise frequency of the males’ wings is definitely not correct. Meanwhile, one tends to assume that it is related to the smell. Mosquitoes are very olfactory insects and the females have specially fanned out antennae for this purpose.
For this reason, the devices or apps that are designed to deter mosquitoes with high-frequency sounds are also ineffective. Stiftung Warentest has that in its Investigation also noted.
Strictly speaking, advertising these devices with the promise of repelling or attracting and killing mosquitoes is illegal. It’s a miracle that no warnings or consumer protection organizations have jumped on it.
To make matters worse, insecticidal UV decoy traps have negative properties: they kill, especially when hung outdoors, many other species of insects that are useful but usually avoid humans.
And yet there are actually effective ways to drive away mosquitoes or keep them away.
Drive away, avoid or destroy mosquitoes – recommendation
The best way to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes is prevention. One should avoid “mosquito-infested” areas such as lake shores on warm summer evenings. Your own living space can be kept largely free of mosquitoes with “fly screens” on the windows. Finally, there are other means you can use to fight mosquitoes.
Good means in the fight against mosquitoes
|aids||mode of action|
|fly screen||Keep all kinds of insects of a certain size out of the rooms.|
|Fish in the garden pond||Mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water such as lakes, ponds, and even puddles. If you have such a pond in your garden, populate it with fish. They eat the eggs and the mosquito brood.|
Risky remedies against mosquitoes
|Toxic sprays or gels to repel mosquitoes – they help, but not without side effects. Many of these agents trigger allergies in people, especially children, or are dangerous to dogs and cats.||Even toxins advertised as “natural” are dangerous to humans and pets. Some of the world’s most dangerous toxins are produced by small animals and plants. According to Stiftung Warentest, agents with the active ingredients work DEET and icaridin preferably. DEET is irritating to the mucous membranes. Weakly dosed Icaridin gels can also be used in children, but then they do not work particularly well.|
Useless mosquito repellant
|Bracelets, candles or sprays with active ingredients such as Citronella, lavender oil or tea tree oil||So far, no reputable test has been able to prove a mosquito repellent effect.|
|Strong smelling plants in the garden or on the windowsill: tomato plants. basil or lemon balm||That, too, belongs in the realm of myth. Almost certainly there are repellent odors, but they have not yet been proven.|
Don’t fall for the ultrasonic sticks or UV traps that claim to repel or kill mosquitoes. At best they have no effect, at worst they annoy pets or kill beneficial insects.
Instead, try to actively avoid mosquitoes or prevent them from entering. And if there is no other way, then use a chemical mosquito repellent. If you’re going on vacation, it’s better to buy it here: In some countries, the dosage is rather careless.
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