The Mosquito Sting; Watchdog Denounces Tropical Bug Repellents

Article excerpt

ELECTRONIC buzzers designed to ward off mosquitoes are a waste of money, a consumer watchdog warns today.

Holiday Which? says tests revealed the devices, which are supposed to frighten off insects by emitting high frequency sounds, did not work against mosquitoes that bite humans.

The organisation accuses manufacturers of making misleading claims which could endanger lives by giving holidaymakers a false sense of security.

It calls for the buzzers to be removed from sale and has passed its test results to trading standards officers.

Every year 20,000 Britons catch the life-threatening disease malaria from mosquito bites.

Which? tested 18 types of repellent with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It put an expert in a sealed room containing the type of mosquito that spreads malaria. Holiday Which? says four buzzer devices - Lentek MosquitoContro, Masterplug Portable Insect Repeller, Moziban and Prince Lionheart Mosquito Repeller - did not work at all.

Its report says the Prince Lionheart repeller caused particular concern as it is aimed at protecting infants.

As well as claiming to keep mosquitoes outside a five-metre radius, the device also claims to help protect against West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by a different species and can be deadly.

But when it was tested by the watchdog it proved useless against both types, says Holiday Which?.

The report says there is no substitute for a skin-applied repellent containing at least 30 per cent of the chemical Deet.

Tests showed other types of repellent also performed well. …