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From pool days to barbecues, there's so much to love about summer. But, one thing we definitely don't love is the bugs — particularly, those pesky mosquitos.
Of course there are tons of different products, from bug sprays to citronella candles, to help prevent you from getting covered in itchy red bumps. But, if your current methods aren't impressing you, then you may want to try Mosquito Sticks.
Murphy's Mosquito Sticks, $12, Amazon
These repellent incense sticks are plant-based and DEET-free. The sticks use a combination of citronella, rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, cedar wood and bamboo to ward of mosquitos.
How does it work?
The efficacy of natural ingredients for protection against mosquitos is often debated among experts, but we reached out to the company behind Murphy's Mosquito Sticks to hear a little bit about potential benefits.
"We are a natural, plant based, mosquito repellent company," Stewart Freeman, manager of Sales and Marketing for Murphy's Naturals, told TODAY. "In our opinion, with the right essential oils, you can have products that work just as effectively without the DEET chemical."
Each pack includes 12 repellent incense sticks and each stick burns up to 2-2.5 hours — the perfect amount of time for hanging out in the backyard or having an evening drink on the porch.
"We suggest you place our incense sticks around the perimeter of your deck or patio and then keep a candle on the table, or close by," Freeman said. "This way you have a strong mosquito repellent barrier around you."
The reviews are encouraging
Reviewers seem to be pretty impressed with the natural mosquito repellent. With over 500 reviews on Amazon, the sticks have received a 4-star rating.
"These work really well," one reviewer wrote. "I was able to do an hour of yoga at 6 p.m. in the Florida summer, and not be bothered by one mosquito."
Another reviewer shared that they are comparable to any other citronella they've tried.
"I bought these last year as a non-lethal method of keeping mosquitos at bay and I was skeptical as to whether or not they would actually work," they wrote. "A year later, I can actually say they do seem to work. Well, they work as well or better than any other citronella or incense style bug deterrent that I've tried."
Some experts advised caution
As previously mentioned, the efficacy of mosquito repellents that aren't topically applied has been debated.
According to Joe Conlon, Technical Advisor at the American Mosquito Control Association, mosquito repellents are most effective when they provide an atmosphere on or around the skin. Products like candles and incense may be less effective because the atmosphere that they create may be disturbed by wind or rain.
Alicia Leytem, Pesticide Specialist for the National Pesticide Information Center, also mentioned that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picadarin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535 or 2-undecanone.
The incense sticks don't include one of those ingredients, so if you'd like to err on the side of caution it may be best to couple use of the sticks with a topical application that includes one of the CDC-recommended ingredients.
She also offered tips for effective use.
"One of the most important things to do when using any pesticide product, is reading and following the entire label instructions," said Leytem.
Here's to keeping the mosquitos at bay!
If you're looking for expert-approved mosquito repellents, check out:
- The 5 best mosquito repellents and bug sprays, according to Consumer Reports
- 8 natural mosquito repellent alternatives