To ward off insects, some people wipe themselves down with Bounce fabric softener sheets before heading outdoors. Others swear by a little Vicks VapoRub.
People will try almost anything. They've gobbled bananas, tried Joy dishwashing detergent and rubbed on Listerine mouthwash.
The list of home remedies and natural products keeps growing as people seek alternatives to chemical pesticides. Some people are convinced these remedies work, but solid research is harder to find.
Here's a sampling of common remedies:
Never miss a local story.
Garlic: Eating garlic emits an odor that mosquitoes (not to mention humans) find offensive. But it's unclear how much garlic one must eat to get the full effect. There has been at least one study on the use of garlic as a repellent, but the participants apparently didn't eat enough garlic to make a difference.
Catnip oil: It drives cats crazy, but does it do the same thing for mosquitoes? Researchers at Iowa State University found that catnip can repel mosquitoes 10 times more effectively than DEET. Other herbs in the mint family are thought to be effective.
Vitamin B1: When taken three times a day, 25 to 50 milligrams of vitamin B1 is said to produce an odor that pregnant mosquitoes can't stand. It's odorless to humans, but it takes about two weeks to be effective, and not everyone is convinced that it works. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that it had no effect.
Purple martins: Yes, this little bird does eat mosquitoes, but not enough to make much of a difference. In a 1918 study, the stomach contents of 205 purple martins were examined for mosquitoes and none were found. That's not enough evidence to convince some people who are convinced that the birds do a good job of keeping the bugs away.
Clove oil: It works for headaches and apparently repels mosquitoes, too. Undiluted clove oil repels mosquitoes up to two hours. The downside: Undiluted clove oil can cause a skin rash. And it smells.