Mosquito wristbands put to the test

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mosquitoes are definitely annoying, and that is why the Curtis family was happy to test out a new product: a rubber wristband that is supposed to repel mosquitoes.

"We do have lots of little ponds in our neighborhood, and we back up to a very big lake over here," Mckay Curtis said.

"MosquitNo," infused with citronella oil, is supposed to prevent mosquitoes from biting you.

So how did the all-natural citronella rubber bands work? Stephanie Curtis gave four kid-sized bands to her children, and she and her husband wore the adult bands.

"We tried the bands several nights over the past week, and even fresh out of the package they weren't as strong as we thought," Stephanie Curtis said.

"You can smell a slight citronella smell to it, but the mosquitoes still started swarming around us," Mckay Curtis said.

In fact, Stephanie Curtis called it disappointing.

"I was hoping they would work better than they did, but they didn't," she said.

Photographers Brian Shwartz and Jesse Draus also tested the bug bands. They both work nights and setting up lights always draws mosquitoes.

Shwartz wore the band two days.

"I noticed on the right-hand side of me they were fine, but they were getting annoying on the left-hand side, so I borrowed somebody's bug spray," he said.

Draus said he had better luck.

"I thought it was very potent, and I didn't get bit the nights I wore it," Draus said.

Dr. Thomas Breaud of Orange County Mosquito Control said the most effective repellent, hands down, is spray.

"In the scientific literature, the repellents are the best we can do. The bands just don't work as effectively. Bands on my wrist are not going to protect my ankles, and that's where these mosquitoes like to bite," he said.

So what are some ways to avoid mosquito bites?

  • Use repellents; ones with DEET are the best
  • Avoid going out during peak times -- within an hour of dusk or dawn
  • It may sound like common sense, but wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts
  • Get rid of standing water around your home; that's every container that holds water longer than seven days -- it can be a bird bath or dog bowl

While the Curtises were hoping the bug bands would give them added protection, they said they know these biting pests come with the territory.

"I guess we have grown accustomed to it. This is Florida, this is mosquitoes, this is how we have to live with it," Mckay Curtis said.

If you have issues with mosquitoes in your area and want some relief, here are links to several Mosquito Control agencies: