Zika freaks me out. Especially now that we’re in hopes of having baby no. 2 soon. And seeing that my husband and I do like being out in the nature and my daughter loves to be outside, too, I feel like we need something to keep mosquitoes away. (Besides the whole Zika situation, mosquito bites are just no fun, period.) But, I’m not exactly one to bust out the heavy chemical bug spray.
And I know for a fact that a bunch of those outdoor candles that promise to keep bugs away do not work. Or, at least, they don’t keep bugs away from me.
So when an offer to try the BugBand Portable Diffuser and Wristbands came into my inbox, I was like, let’s do this. And immediately imagined myself carefree, frolicking among the nature — nary a bug in site.
Both are DEET-free and use “naturally derived geraniol” as an active ingredient. This was my first time hearing of geraniol and it definitely has a unique smell to it. Kind of like if you crossed rose petals with cleaning supplies? Yeah, that’s how I’d describe it. It’s not exactly pleasant nor is it terrible. (And it’s certainly better than mosquito bites.) It’s said to be kid and pet-safe — and repels flies, gnats, no-see-ums and fleas, in addition to skeeters.)
The Portable Diffuser ($19.95) takes three AA batteries and covers up to 300 square feet. Simply add a cartridge, turn on its motorized fan and it’s supposed to give you 120 total hours of coverage (per cartridge). The fan does make a whirring noise — it’s not super loud but it is noticeable (which kind stinks if you’re out, like, camping, where your whole goal is to get away from devices).
But it does actually work pretty well. My husband and I sat outside around dusk with a glass of wine and the gentle whir of the diffuser, and within just a couple minutes of it being on, the mosquitoes were gone and I went from seeing a bunch of flies/gnats to like two. So yeah, the whirring is worth it. I do wish the device itself had a little more design to it (reminds me of miniature model of an attraction at Disneyland), but for $19.95, it’s hard to complain too much. Plus, it’s small — probably under about a foot tall and barely wider than a coffee mug, so it’s easy to move where you need it.
I also tried the BugBand Wristbands. Now, these are a little more fun on the fashion side of things. They come in multiple colors (including glow-in-the-dark — fun!) and are $4.95 each.
Each wristband lasts for up to 120 hours. You can wear them on your wrist or just loop them on to your bag, belt or even a stroller (for kiddos under 3 years old, they say to not have it on their skin directly) or tent. They’re water- and sweat-resistant, too, in case you want to work out with them on or are working out in the yard.
And they come with a reusable plastic pod to store the wristband in that “seals” it between uses — that way you don’t have to use your whole 120 hours up at once. (I love drinking wine on my back porch, but even I can’t do it for that long.)
Unfortunately these too smell like rose-petal-cleaning-water — and unlike the diffuser, because it’s actually touching something and not just being wafted into the air, it kind of makes your hands or whatever fabric the wristband is touching smell that way, too. For me that just means that I’ll loop it near me but not on me (sorry outfit) — but isn’t a deal-breaker. I’d certainly rather hear a whir in the background and endure a scent in the air than have a mosquito make a buffet of me and my fam or be covered in a bunch of chemicals. Ya know? You know.
Are you worried about Zika? Doing anything new to stay away from mosquitoes? I’m happy to have a new weapon in my bug-avoiding arsenal. —Jenn