Mosquito Awareness Week Theme is Buzz-Off!

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week is an annual weekly event that Bite-Lite®
endorses each year, and has reported on previously in these News pages around the same time of year.   This year’s event runs June 20-26, 2021.     We are still waiting on this year’s theme by the American Mosquito Control Association (“AMCA”), who promotes the event.  A previous theme was to tell Mosquitoes to “buzz off. 

To promulgate this advice throughout the summer season, when mosquitoes are biting, and either causing irritation or disease, remember to take the necessary steps to protect yourself.  You can follow the AMCA’s three D’s:  Drain, Dress, and Defend:

Drain: Empty out water containers at least once a week.

Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light colored, loose fitting clothing.

Defend: Properly apply approved repellents such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.

For candle ambience at your favorite outdoor event, don’t forget to bring your Bite-Lite® Natural Mosquito Repellent Candles!

For more information about the AMCA, please go to: www.mosquito.org.  

To Be or Not to Be Attracted to Mosquitoes!

In the science world, it has been a well-known fact that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.   Mosquitoes, using their antennas, choose who they bite based on how your skin smells.  In the past, scientists considered that what made your skin attractive (or repellent) to a mosquito was bacteria, chemical compounds, carbon dioxide, movement, and heat.   Just recently, the DNA responsible for body odor may have solved the mystery of mosquito attractiveness.

A study titled the Heritability of Attractiveness to Mosquitoes published on April 22, 2015 in the journal PLOS One studied 37 sets of female twins to determine the percentage of mosquito attractiveness based on genetic programming.*  Eighteen sets of identical twins and 19 pairs of fraternal twins were recruited between the ages of 50 and 90.   All were female and post-menopausal.   The conclusion, after running 40 versions of the experiment using the hands of each pair of twins, is that DNA determines a person’s degree of mosquito attractiveness 62% to 83% of the time.    (To better understand these numbers, consider that genes have been found to be responsible for height 80% of the time and IQ between 50 to 80%.)

The study concluded that if a mosquito was attracted to the odor of one twin’s hand, it was likely to be attracted to the other twin.     Mosquito preference for an identical twin was twice as high as fraternal twins, who only shared half their DNA due to their birth in separate eggs.

While the experiment is over, there is still much work to be done.   Finding the actual genes responsible for mosquito magnetism is the next step, according to James Logan, the study’s senior author and medical entomologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.   This knowledge could lead to better information to control mosquito borne diseases and even the development of a new drug that would allow your body to produce natural repellents.

Controlling Mosquitoes

Only female mosquitoes bite.   And the reason they bite is to nourish eggs, which can be as many as 300 at one time.   Females live about six weeks (compared to males who live only seven days), and can find their hosts by flying from one to 10 miles to even 40 miles.   Because mosquitoes breed in any standing, stagnant water, it is time for you the homeowner to get busy eliminating these areas.   Here are a few spring chores and tips to beat the bite and not give mosquitoes a chance to be nuisances in your backyard.

  1. Find and eliminate all standing pools of water around your house and yard.   Do this regularly.   (Once a week is a good rule of thumb because that is the time for a mosquito to grow from an egg to a biting adult.)   These areas include pet bowls, fountains or bird baths, wagons and other children’s toys, wading pools, open trash bins, leaky hoses and faucets, flower pot dishes, tree holes.
  2. Clean clogged rain gutters, eaves, and troughs.
  3. Throw out old bottles, cans, pails, and used tires.
  4. Keep lawns mowed as short as practical, and trim and prune ornamental shrubs and bushes to allow airflow and light to penetrate.   It will be harder for adults to hide in these locations because of your handiwork.
  5. Repair screens on windows and doors.
  6. When outside, wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats and socks.

*For more information on the twin study, see:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122716

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mosquito-magnet-genes-20150422-story.html

Genetically Modified Mosquito Control – Future Reality in US?

The Food and Drug Administration could soon approve a field trial for releasing several million genetically modified male mosquitoes in a small enclave in the Florida Keys, according to the New York Times a few days ago.   Residents in Key Haven, Florida, with 444 houses near Key West, have been fighting this possibility since 2011.

If approved, Oxitec, a British biotechnology company, already has permission to set up a lab in the office of the Marathon, FL mosquito control district.   There imported mosquito eggs will be injected with synthetic DNA, reared, and released with the goal to kill the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes aegypti), the species responsible for the viral and incurable diseases of dengue and chikungunya.   The plan is for only modified male mosquitoes to be released; after mating in the wild, the special gene the males are carrying will kill their offspring.

Field trials have already begun in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, Brazil, and Panama with varying degrees of success from the 70 million Oxitec mosquitoes released.   Brazil will apparently be the first country to release these mosquitoes commercially.

For more information about this subject, see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/us/battle-rises-in-florida-keys-over-fighting-mosquitoes-with-mosquitoes.html?_r=0

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/Genetically-Modified-Mosquitoes-May-Be-Released-in-Florida-Keys/384859/

https://undark.org/2021/04/12/gmo-mosquitoes-to-be-released-florida-keys

Not all natural repellents are created equal!

Not all natural repellents are created equal!

Like you, our interest is always piqued when we discover and learn about new insect repellent products, whether natural or not.   As our entomologist pointed out last summer on the Bite-Lite® website (See https://www.bite-lite.com/mosquito-products-what-really-offers-protection), we are all seeking that elixir for preventing mosquito bites.  

But not all natural repellent products are created equal!    At Bite-Lite®, we are proud of the fact that our five Natural mosquito repellent candles contain both active and inert ingredients of natural materials which meet the EPA’s criteria exempting them from federal registration.    Plus, Bite-Lite applies and registers its natural repellents in the individual states that require registration of these “EPA exempt” products.    (Note: 39 states and the District of Columbia require these state registrations, which must be renewed annually, before any repellent product can be legally sold in that state.)

When shopping for natural repellents that are legal pesticides, read the label for either a federal EPA registration number or 25b exemption language and then inquire whether these products have state registrations.

For the most up to date links on EPA’s criteria for active and inert natural ingredients as well as general information on 25b minimum risk pesticides, see:

http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides

http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides/active-ingredients-allowed-minimum-risk-pesticide-products

http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides/inert-ingredients-approved-use-minimum-risk-pesticide-products

NEW Bite-Lite® Horsefly Trap Inspired by Nature

Bite-Lite® introduced its new H-Trap Professional Horsefly Control System at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas on May 6-8, 2014, and received enthusiastic responses.

As it did for the first launched Bite-Lite® Natural Mosquito Repellent Candle products, nature has inspired the design of the Bite-Lite® H-Trap.   Click here to go the new H-Trap page.

Bite-Lite® Mosquito Candles Named to Top 25 Hardware Products in the U.S.

Industry Edge, the official online news voice of the National Hardware Show, named Bite-Lite® Natural Mosquito Repellent Candles one of 25 products to sell across the country.   In a special report on February 26th, Industry Edge writer Briana McClane divided the country into a five region map called the “United States of Hardware,” and listed Bite-Lite® in the heavily populated mosquito region of the Southeast amongst four other products that “shoppers will want.”

“With the hardware industry being told to innovate in order to compete with the Internet and dominating brands, it’s a great time to be in a place as distinct as the U.S. Retailers and brands alike can find a niche among the many regions that the U.S. encompasses. Whether it’s climate or culture, it’s to a retailer’s advantage to know the surrounding area. Industry Edge spoke with retailers and manufacturers about what products are selling best, where, and about what customers want in certain regions…..

“Bite-Lite® Natural Mosquito Repelling Candles combine spearmint and lemongrass to emit an attractive smell to repel mosquitoes.”

To see what all the buzz is about, come visit the Bite-Lite® staff in Las Vegas at the National Hardware Show on May 6-8, 2014 at Booth #12032 in North Hall in the Lawn, Garden, and Outdoor Living section.

Click Here to read more Awards and Noteworthiness articles.

Mosquito Products: What Really Offers Protection?

Every year, as mosquito season approaches, homeowners are flooded with information about ways to protect yard and family from those pesky and sometimes dangerous little biters.   Some of the advertisements offer ‘new and improved’ solutions and some are just marketing the same old thing.   Many of the claims for these products are not backed by science and many are just gimmicks that do not work at all.   You, the consumer, have the difficult job of sorting through the truth and fiction of advertising geniuses, and in some cases making a purchase to find out whether the product will really work.

 

 

 

Dr. Wayne Crans an entomologist from Rutgers University summarized some of these products as “gimmicks” or what he called “hoaxes that are marketed solely for economic gain.”  in a data sheet that is presented on the Rutgers’ website, entitled:  Products and Promotions That Have Limited Value for Mosquito Control.   There are two categories of products, however, that Dr. Crans did not mention in his article.  These are traps and spatial repellents, both of which have been around for decades, but have not always been available or in the consumer eye.

Mosquito surveillance traps have been used by researchers, local mosquito control districts, and the military to try to effectively estimate mosquito density as well as identify the types of mosquitoes found in specific areas. This information has been used to identify potential disease outbreaks as well as to determine when the best time to apply area wide control methods, such as mosquito sprays and larvacide.   However, in the past 15 years or so, mosquito traps have been made commercially available for backyard use, with costs ranging from roughly $99 to $725.   Consumer reviews of these traps are mixed.   There have been numerous scientific studies proving that mosquito traps, in general, attract and collect mosquitoes.   The jury is still out on how well those same traps work to ‘control’ the mosquitoes.

Spatial repellents have also been around for a very long time–  first being noted in the late 1940’s as “vapour repellents” that work ‘at a distance’.   Spatial repellents are chemicals that are released into an environment to repel mosquitoes from that area.   If the concentration of the chemical is at the right level, mosquitoes will be ‘discouraged’ from searching for food in that area. Dr. Dan Strickman of the USDA defines spatial repellents as, “a repellent product applied between the human and the immediate source of pests…” in his 2009 presentation about spatial repellents to the Human Subjects Review Board of the US EPA.   According to Dr. Strickman, spatial repellents can be delivered either passively or actively. Passive delivery would be through natural evaporation of materials that have been either sprayed onto an area or impregnated into things like plastic strips that hang in an area.

The most common methods of delivering spatial repellents, at this time, are through active transmission, which is something that most of us are more familiar with:  candles, torches, coils and electronic mats and more recently things like butane powered heating cells. In the past, these types of repelling systems have been lumped into a category of materials that had minimal efficacy, and while it is true that a lot of the materials that are currently found on the retail shelves are not very effective, new chemistries have been discovered and are being discovered that are improving the reputation of this category.   Recently, the Gates Foundation awarded a 23 million dollar grant to a group at Notre Dame University to investigate the efficacy and feasibility of adding Spatial Repellents into the recommendations for malaria control and prevention.

Bite-Lite® Natural Mosquito Repellent Candles contain ingredients that are relatively ‘new chemistries’ based on discoveries by research zoologist Dr. Paul Weldon  with the help of organic chemists at Bedoukian Research, Inc. in Danbury, CT, while investigating the anointing behavior of capuchin monkeys.   When natural essential oils were mixed in the Bite-Lite® repellent candle formulation, testing showed an 84% reduction in the number of mosquitoes

Both traps and candles have limitations, as do personal repellents, such as DEET.   If not used correctly or applied correctly, they will not be as efficacious.   DEET should be applied according to the label of the particular product that has been purchased.   Traps should be placed between mosquito emergence sites and the area where humans will be gathered and run for long periods of time to reduce mosquito populations. Mosquito Candles should be placed near and around the area where humans will gather, and burned for a long enough period of time to allow the wax to melt and the repellents to evaporate before going outdoors. Depending on the size of the area that you are trying to protect, one device, be that candle or trap, may not be enough.

 

Click Here to read more blog articles.

Click Here if you questions for our entomologist.

Two New USA Made Mosquito Candles!

Bite-Lite® is excited to announce that it has manufactured two new U.S.A. made natural mosquito repellent candles to add to its fragrant, effective, and stylish collection.   In addition to its first U.S.A. made premium soy Tin last year, Bite-Lite® adds a new  premium soy Pint Jar and a  premium soy Mini Jar (4 pack).   The Pint Jars burn up to 60 hours each, and the Mini Jars burn up to 10 hours each.   Both come in glass containers.   Unlike regular citronella candles, our natural mosquito repellent candles repel without smoke or soot.

Find your favorite local Retailer or shop now for Pint Jars and Mini Jars

Ask the Entomologist

Please submit your questions about biting and stinging insects to [email protected]  As a result of some of your customer questions so far, we have updated our FAQs, and will continue to do so.

How effective are mosquito misting systems? (3/2/2015)

There are plenty of misting systems out there. Most use permethrin and are not recommended by mosquito control professionals (scientists/government control agencies) because they promote resistance. This means that the spray is put out at set times, and may not be applied when needed.  As a result, mosquitoes are not necessarily exposed to the chemicals at the right time and by the right method, allowing them to develop resistance.

For more information about misting systems, go to: http://www2.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/mosquito-misting-systems#effective.

Some manufacturers are advertising DEET free repellent mosquito candles.  Are those the best to buy to prevent mosquitoes from biting?  (6/17/2014)

The extremely, short answer to your question is, “Yes, DEET free repellent mosquito candles are ‘the best.’”

Now for the more in depth and scientific answer.   Buyer Beware!   All mosquito repellent candles are DEET free!    DEET is not found in repellent candles or vaporizers at this time.   Advertising that a mosquito repelling candle is “DEET free” is misleading and is an attempt to take advantage of consumer concerns about the safety of DEET.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DEET or N,N –Diethyl–meta–toluamide is the active ingredient in many insect repellent products (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/deet.htm).    It is widely used in many forms that are directly applied to human skin.   DEET is, currently, the most effective skin repellent that is used to prevent mosquito bites.   It is topically applied in many forms, including lotions, dry sprays, liquid sprays and even towelettes.    Even though there have been a small number of reports of neurologic effects linked to the use of this chemical, in 2014 the EPA has re-reviewed all of the toxicology data that has been submitted and has stated that DEET is safe to use.

Bite-Lite Travels Back to the Dallas Gift Show!

After a warm reception in Dallas last year, Bite-Lite will be going back to Texas to exhibit our natural mosquito repellent candles at the Gift Show January 15-18.   Come see our U.S.A. made collection of pint jars, mini jars, and tins, all made with soy and fragranced with lemongrass and spearmint oils.   Plus Bite-Lite’s three pack votives and elegant Luminaries, made with paraffin wax, will also be available for spring preorders.

We’ll be at booth #2419 situated in the General Gift area located at the Dallas Market Center, World Trade Center, 2050 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas.   You won’t want to miss this event where Bite-Lite will be offering a 15 percent discount on all orders made by resellers at the show.