Smartphone Apps Claim To Repel Mosquitoes
July 23, 2014 10:47 PM

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - You’ve seen the clip on fans, bug repellent bracelets, and candles.  The latest in gadgets claiming to help fight off mosquitoes, are apps for the smart phone.

There are several apps available for download in both the iPhone and Android app stores.

One app, called the Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller, emits a high frequency sound, which the makers claim mosquitoes will avoid.  The description says by keeping the app close, mosquitos will stay away.  The makers say it is not 100% effective, but will ease the pain of the biting pests.

“I would like to know if it works.  I would use it,” said Dee Brown.

Brown has four children, and uses bug spray before they play outdoors.  But because sensitive skin runs in the family, she says it can be difficult to find an effective and safe product.

“I would do my research first to see how safe it is, and if that’s going to keep the bugs away,” said Brown.

At UNT’s Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Dr. Joon Lee handles mosquitos on a daily basis.  The medical entomologist is one of the leading researchers of the insect in the country.

The only product he’s found to be tried and true: DEET.

“Most of the other products are unregistered (with the EPA), which means they are posing minimal risk, but the effectiveness is unproven,” Dr. Lee says.

He cautions, it’s important to read the label on a DEET product.  Dr. Lee finds,
concentrations with 15-30% DEET can be safer on the skin than high concentrations.
Some products on the market today contain near 100% DEET.

“Personally I wouldn’t recommend applying a type of chemical with this high concentration on the face, and directly on the skin,” said Dr. Lee.

When it comes to the smart phone app, Dr. Lee says he’s not sure how effective it would be on mosquitos. Dr. Lee says male mosquitos rely on antennae more than females.  While the noise may keep the males away, Dr. Lee says it may not affect the female mosquitos the same way — and females are the bugs that bite.

Dr. Lee says the latest numbers from Tarrant County show that the season for West Nile Virus is peaking a few weeks later than usual. He says North Texas could see some more cases of the mosquito-transmitted disease before the month is over.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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