In the evening when we’re socializing with friends or family, we may not want to put on smelly, sticky insect repellent. So, besides having some bug zappers that may have limited success or buying an expensive but effective mosquito trap, have we any alternative?
Well, some companies produce mosquito repellent bracelets, wristbands, or stickers that are meant to keep the mozzies at bay. This sounds like an attractive replacement to the repellents, but will this really protect us?
When the female mosquitoes are looking for a meal they’re attracted by the carbon dioxide we exhale, our body heat, and the smell of our skin. It’s the odor emitted from our skin that explains why some people are more prone to mosquito bites than others.
Insect repellents, such as DEET or Picaridin, work by either confusing the mosquito that has trouble detecting the host odor, masking the odors, or giving off a scent that is avoided by the mosquitoes.
When using repellents you really need to apply them to all your bare skin, not just a drop here and there. Even if you leave a tiny gap when you apply the repellent the mosquitoes can find it.
This could be the first sign that a repellent bracelet may not be all that useful. Unless they have discovered some magic formula for repelling the mosquitoes.
Research carried out in Australia shows the protection provided by wristbands is very limited. The conclusion they reached was that wristbands may prevent mosquitoes from landing in the immediate vicinity around the band.
In an evaluation of products for personal protection against mosquitoes, wristbands with essential oils and other products, such as sonic repellents, were found not to provide any protection.
The Types of Bracelets Available
Although I am very skeptical about the effectiveness of bracelets or wristbands, many have positive reviews on Amazon and some come with guarantees that they work.
One thing that I do like about them is that nearly all use natural repellents. This might mean they are non-toxic and safe for children with adult supervision. In rare cases, they might cause you to experience skin irritation.
Natural repellents are usually essential oils distilled from plants. Here are a few of the common ones:
These are oils that have evolved with the plants to defend the plant from being eaten by insects. These oils might be toxic and can cause irritation in high concentrations. Therefore, natural repellents are not necessarily always safe repellents.
Insect repelling wristbands are considered as being safer, as you don’t have to rub anything into your skin. People often wear them on their wrists and ankles.
Here is a selection of some repellent bracelets with the most reviews on Amazon.
CliganicMosquito Repellent Bands 10 Pack – DEET free made with essential oils, of nearly 5000 reviews 56% are 5 stars.
Buggy Bands Mosquito Repellent Bracelets 12 Pack – DEET free made with essential oils, of 1250 reviews 58% are 5 stars.
RiptGear Mosquito Bracelet for adults and kids 15 Pack – DEET free, infused with Citronella oil, nearly 1100 reviews 49% are 5 stars
Evergreen Research Insect Repelling SuperBand, Box of 50 – DEET free, infused with 3 oils (geraniol, lemongrass, and citronella) of 855 reviews 67% are 5 stars
Mosquito Guard Repellent Stickers / Patches for Kids, 60 Pack – DEET free, made with plant-based essential oils (citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint) of 2250 reviews 46% are 5 stars
I’m really surprised. Most people seem to be happy with the repellent bracelets they purchased. Although they might not give complete protection, most folk who are susceptible to mosquito bites reported having fewer bites than normal or less than others not wearing any form of protection.
But there were also a few people who said the bracelets had no effect and they still received mosquito bites.
Mosquito repellent bracelets or wristbands aren’t very expensive, so it could be worth trying a few to see if they work for you.
For complete protection, I recommend that you wear long-sleeve shirts, trousers, and socks. You might even consider a hat with a net to protect your face and neck.
If this seems a little too much, for a hot summer evening, there are clothes treated with repellents that will help you to stay bite-free. Make sure to treat any bare skin with an EPA registered repellent such as DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. And don’t forget to keep your feet and ankles are covered. Some species of mosquitoes seem to like this area.