Does a mosquito-repellant app really work?
You've just spent the day outside in the sun only to come back inside and find your arms and legs covered in mosquito bites. You even used bug spray. Well now, there's an app claiming it can keep those pesky suckers away.
It's called "Anti Mosquito - Sonic Repeller," and it reportedly works by emitting a high-frequency sound to keep the mosquitoes at bay. The app's page on iTunes notes, "It's not a 100% cover but will ease the pain of mosquitoes biting you."
If it sounds familiar, it's probably because the app isn't the first of its kind.
Back in 2011, Discovery reported on an app called "Mosquito Buster," which claims to do the exact same thing along with options to repel mice and, oddly enough, children.
And a year later, BBC highlighted a Brazilian radio station that had added a 15-kilohertz sound under all its music to keep mosquitoes away from people listening outdoors.
So when this new app came along, reporters for WFLA couldn't wait to try it out. But they didn't get the results they were hoping for.
"With the app turned off, they dug in. I counted - at least two bites. ... Firing up the app didn't make a difference."
"There's another one. See this one?"
Now remember, Pico Brothers, the company behind the app, did say it's not guaranteed to keep every mosquito away. But watch what happened when NBC's Kerry Sanders tested it out.
"I'm going to activate the app, and let's just see what happens. Right, so I'm waiting for this app to work. ... You know, you guys make me give blood on these stories, literally."
Ouch! We're getting itchy just watching that. So maybe the high-frequency sound idea isn't such a good one after all.
In fact, several years ago, a review of 10 field studies by the The Cochrane Collaboration found high-frequency sound did absolutely nothing to repel mosquitoes.
Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite humans, and the researchers concluded that this might be one of the reasons the high-frequency sound doesn't work.
The review noted, "Male mosquitoes are actually the ones attracted by the female flight sound and females normally have a very weak sensitivity for sound compared with the males."
So if these types of apps don't seem to be doing the job, what's a person to do?
KTVT went straight to one of the top U.S. researchers on mosquitoes, Dr. Joon Lee, who says DEET is the only product he's found that consistently repels the insect. Lee does caution users to stay away from repellent with concentrations of DEET higher than 30 percent, though, saying it can be harsh on skin.
Now, we must note, the Anti Mosquito - Sonic Repeller app has received some good reviews from users. If you do decide to put it to the test, just beware of using it around dogs, who have a wide enough frequency range to detect that 15-kilohertz tone.
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