Latest Stories

The Consumer

Keep mosquitoes away with electric fans


Lito Lapid might have done more with the P20 million for dengue control from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) if he bought electric fans instead of, as the Inquirer reported, garbage deodorizer.

Alesandra Dubin, in the website iVillage, said the best (possibly cheapest, too) mosquito repellent is the electric fan. She cited information that the New York Times got from Frank Swift, president of Swift Food Equipment, Inc. Swift said he got the “solution” from “trying to think like a bug and realizing I don’t like flying into a 15-mph (miles per hour) wind.”

Swift was supported by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) which said mosquitoes, transmitter of such deadly diseases as dengue and malaria, “are relatively weak fliers, so placing a large fan… can provide a low-tech solution.”

Dubin said science cited by the NY Times said a fan also “disperses the human emanations” that allowed mosquitoes to target humans.

I visited the AMCA’s FAQ (frequently asked questions) site and found its assessment of mosquito-control gadgets and products like bug zappers and ultrasonic devices very informative.

Unwanted consequence

AMCA said two University of Notre Dame studies found that mosquitoes killed by black light “electrocution” devices “comprised merely 4.1 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, of the daily catch over an entire season.” Both studies found no significant difference in the number of mosquitoes in yards with or without bug zappers.

The devices had an unwanted consequence, as they killed mostly non-pest insects that were food for other creatures or helped control other pests. As for ultrasonic devices, AMCA said at least 10 studies in the past 15 years found the gadgets “as having no repellency value whatsoever.”

Said the report: “A pioneering study testing five different ultrasonic devices against four mosquito species convincingly demonstrated that ultrasound in the 20-70 kHz range used by these devices had no effect on reorienting flight by female mosquitoes either toward or away from human subjects. Additional tests have shown that sound generators capable of a wide range of frequencies were also ineffective…”

As AMCA stated: “The fact is that these devices just do not work.”

Natural repellents

The website  Care2 Healthy Living offers a few natural mosquito-control measures. Citing research at Iowa State University, Care2 says essential oil in catnip, which drives cats wild, hence the name, is “about 10 times more effective than DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide, a popular anti-bug ingredient) in repelling mosquitoes.”

Citronella may not be as effective as catnip, but is still a better option than chemicals, Care2 says. Eating a lot of fresh garlic will repel mosquitoes, although it may also keep humans away.

Lavender is a sweet-smelling way to keep mosquitoes away. Care2 suggests diluting it in carrier oil like apricot kernel, sweet almond or coconut. Organic soy oil will strengthen lavender’s repellent properties.

Care2 says research cited in The New England Journal of Medicine found that “repellents made of soybean oil are just as effective as DEET-containing repellents.”

A study by the United States National Research Council, Care2 says, shows that neem oil is more effective than DEET, while new research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine shows that lotus keeps mosquitoes away and also helps kill larvae. Care2 adds: “It is a good option as a natural repellent in backyard ponds and water features rather than something that is applied topically.”

Research also found black pepper to be effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Consumer Issues , Lifestyle , Mosquito Repellents , Mosquitoes

  • Carum Al Dumal

    Even better is to remove all breeding grounds for mosquitos! Mosquitos like to take shelter in drainage channels, culverts, drains under footpath where a lot of CO2 is generated by decaying matter. Regular mosquito eradication campaigns should be done and the effort redoubled when Dengue outbreaks occur. Keep doors and windows closed. Install screen barriers. Use a mosquito zapper. Works better than those UV-light attractants which kills insects but only 5% of which are mosquitoes.

  • ReneV

    ano kamo ang binili ni Lapida para kontra lamok? garbage deodorizer?

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan