Do Anti-Mosquito Apps Work? Not the Way You Want.

Anti-mosquito apps emit a high-frequency sound designed to keep mosquitoes away. Produced by your smartphone or tablet once you activate the app in mosquito country, the sound is inaudible to humans but not to mosquitoes, who—according to the theory here—interpret it as coming from a potential mosquito predator and therefore avoid it.

The most popular variety of  this app, Anti Mosquito - Sonic Repeller from Pico Brothers, has been downloaded more than a million times to Android and Apple devices. Other similar apps are available as well, including options from Zodinplex, Kydroid, and Radio World, among others. All of them offer a free basic version; some have minor bonus features for an extra dollar or so.

Customer reviews for the above apps range from three to four-plus stars, which seems like an indication that they work. Or at least that users think they work. Turns out the reality is somewhat different.

Here's the reality: They don't work at all.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that electronic mosquito repellents (EMRs) like these apps fail to reduce mosquitoes bites—and one recent study showed that certain frequencies in fact actually increase the likelihood that you'll get bit.

A 2012 paper looked at 10 separate field studies and concluded that there was no discernible difference in the number of bites between subjects with or without EMRs. Another, more recent, study looked at five different sound frequencies between 9.6 kHz and 18.2 kHz and found that all of them significantly increased biting rates from 20 to 50 percent.

So, as it turns out, when it comes to repelling mosquitoes, there definitely isn't an app for that.

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Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.


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