Summer means mosquitoes, do homemade repellents really work?

More than 30 varieties of mosquitoes call Palm Beach County home and the best defense against them are chemical repellents.

Multiple dubious homemade remedies exist online. We tried three, but can’t say any were successful. Lemon soap, coffee grounds and stale beer, are not recommended as surefire ways to protect yourself.

Gov. Rick Scott said today in Miami that no Zika transmission zones have been identified in the state this year, and the best advice experts give is to wear repellent with DEET or clothing that covers your arms and legs.

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Mosquito larvae develops in about 10 to 14 days, so it’s important to dump out any standing water in your yard. At the same time mosquito eggs can stay dormant in dry grass and hatch when heavy rains create pools of water in drainage areas.

Mosquitoes need nothing more than a thimble of water to breed.

Roland Farrington, with the Mosquito Control Division of Palm Beach County Dept. of Environmental Resources Management, checks a mosquito trap in a swampy area near the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The cooler contains dry ice to attract the mosquitos with carbon dioxide. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

According to CBS Miami, Florida health officials have confirmed only 32 travel-related Zika cases in Miami-Dade County and no locally acquired infections.

“There are, however, six locally acquired cases from 2016 which were not discovered until testing in 2017,” the station reported. “Statewide, health officials have confirmed 81 travel cases so far this year.”

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Palm Beach County has been conducting aerial spraying since mid-June following heavy rains.

But to contain Zika, public health officials prescribe a trio of decidedly low-tech treatments: Remove stagnant water outside your home, use bug repellent, and wear long pants and sleeves.

Scott, who was in Miami to discuss Zika preparedness planning, said Florida residents and visitors must help prevent another outbreak of the virus by wearing mosquito repellent.

Health.com offers the following tips when buying repellent:

  • Look for products with an EPA registration number, which means they have been tested for safety and effectiveness.
  • DEET isn’t a bad thing just because it’s synthetic. Products with 20 percent DEET are effective.
  • Candles don’t work.

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