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Mosquito repellents that work and some that don’t

You probably have never heard of this mosquito-fighting technique before:

Use a fan.

“If you’ve got a veranda or patio, an easy way to get rid of mosquitoes or keep them from biting is to put floor fans out,” says Joseph Conlon, technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Assn. Why? “They aren’t particularly good fliers,” and can’t fight the air currents caused by the fan.

The bonus for humans? It keeps everyone cool during the warmer months.

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Experts also suggest choosing insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. “Go to the back of the [product] label and there will be an EPA registration number in big bold letters,” says Conlon. Use according to directions, and apply during daytime too.

Unfortunately, many other popular methods for fighting mosquitoes don’t really work.

In fact, bug zappers do the exact opposite. “What happens is the bug zapper attracts mosquitoes…They don’t fly into the light, they just hang out in your yard,” Henke says, “you’re thinking you’re protecting yourself but you just brought a cloud of mosquitoes into your yard.”

Birds, bats and dragonflies don’t really control mosquitoes. (Conlon says they prefer bigger prey.)

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Beware of products making promises, Conlon advises: “Repellent wristbands, vitamin B patches, ultrasonic devices…there are all kinds of things out there that are very seductive ideas… unfortunately, they don’t work.”

Follow Bonnie McCarthy on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome

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