Does the Mosquito Patch actually work? We tried it.

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AgraCo Mosquito Patches

A few weeks ago, I was listening to Jonathon Brandmeier’s show on the radio, and he was talking about the AgraCo Mosquito Patch. I’d never heard of the product, but the caller on the line with Johnny was passionate about how well it works, saying it is a DEET-free patch that actually does what it says it will do — repels mosquitoes without synthetic chemicals.

I was intrigued. Who doesn’t want to be mosquito-free? The mosquitoes have been especially bad here as of late thanks to the rain the Midwest has received this summer. My boys and I also had two weeks of scout day camp to look forward to this month — they as campers, I as an activity leader. Having volunteered at camp for several years now, I also knew that Boy Scout camp is mosquito heaven — lots of trees, wooded areas, and skeeters.

scout camp

(Isn’t this exactly the kind of place you’d want effective protection from mosquito bites?)

I ordered the mosquito patches from Amazon, and they’re not exactly cheap. Depending on the size of the package that you buy, each patch is a little over a dollar. Each patch is also supposed to last 36 hours. The patches work by saturating your skin with vitamin B1, which makes your body’s scent unattractive to mosquitoes. I’ve heard of campers and outdoorsmen trying to achieve the same effect by taking lots of vitamin B1 prior to spending time in mosquito country, but I hadn’t heard of a vitamin-based mosquito patch prior to the radio segment.

Still, the thought of keeping the kids and myself bite-free for our days in the woods seemed worth taking a chance on. I bought the 20-pack of patches for $22.49. Amazon reviews of the Mosquito Patch are mixed – there are many positive reviews and a smattering of reviewers stating that the patches did not work for them. This week, we slapped the patches on and headed to camp to see what would happen.

mosquito patch on back

The little guy off to camp with his Mosquito Patch…

The instructions on each patch recommend putting the patch on three hours before heading outdoors. We put our patches on (kind of in the hip/back area so they’d be under our clothes and not affect camp suntan lines!) around 7:00am each day. Camp began at 9:00am, but none of us felt like waking up at 6:00am to put the patches on.

I packed cans of Deep Woods Off in my boys’ backpacks just in case the patches didn’t work as they went about their days at camp. I was stationed in an open-air camp shelter manning the craft areas, so I decided to brave the mosquitoes and tough it out to really test these patches. When I saw my boys throughout their days at camp,  we gave each other updates and compared mosquito stories.

I was actually quite surprised how well the patches worked for us. The mosquitoes were thick and all around the kids and leaders at camp. Throughout the day, most of the other boys got many mosquito bites on their faces, arms and legs despite using various bug sprays, citronella wristbands and the like. My oldest son got bit on the leg once in the morning, and I also had one mosquito bite on my arm around 10:00am. My youngest son wasn’t bit at all. Two bites over the course of a day seemed pretty good.

at camp

The patches say that they are good for 36 hours, so we kept them on overnight and didn’t apply a new patch on the second day of use (we were trying to get our money’s worth out of those patches!) By late afternoon on the second day, I had a few mosquitoes buzzing around me and landing on my clothing. I swatted them away before they could bite. We decided that it was probably best to plan on using one new patch each day for maximum effectiveness. After switching to one patch per day, guess what — no bites for the rest of the week. None.

If you are sensitive to smells, know that the patch may change the way you smell. The vitamin B1 in the patch is being absorbed by your body to the point that the packaging notes that it may change the color of your urine (really.)  I didn’t notice any changes in the way my sons smelled while wearing the patches, but I noticed the change in the scent of my own skin. I’m sure that sounds terrible, but it wasn’t that bad. If you’ve ever sniffed a bottle of vitamins, the scent is something like that — it’s “vitaminy.” Oddly, the scent also reminded me of my parents’ old canvas camp tent.  It’s not a bad or offensive smell, but I was definitely aware of it while wearing the patches.

We put our patches on around 7:00am, and around 11:00am I could smell the effects of the Mosquito Patch coming through my skin. On the first night of wearing the patch, I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep and I could still smell the vitaminy scent on me — even after a shower. By mid-morning on the second day of use, I could barely smell the scent on my skin any more, which I took as a sign that the patch was wearing off.

mosquito patch on back

(Bear with my “back selfie” photography skills..! I peeled the patch off, and it’s under the fingers of my right hand. Below it and to the left, you can see the area where I’d stuck the patch on my back. The center adhesive area of the patch did not peel off and was left on my skin.)

After wearing the patch for two days, we also noted that the patches weren’t the easiest to remove. One of my sons had no trouble peeling his patch off. My other son and I found that the patch’s adhesive stuck to our skin after we pulled the patches off, and the sticky residue was also tough to wash off. We didn’t have issues with this when taking the patches off at night after a day of use.

Still, I think the effectiveness of the patches were worth enduring the stickiness and scent issues — they actually worked for us. With West Nile cases confirmed in Illinois this season, we plan to use them for camping trips too or any days that we’re outdoors for extended periods of time.

The AgraCo Mosquito Patch is available at Amazon.com. I purchased the patches for our family’s use and chose to write about our experience. This post has not been sponsored by the manufacturer.


 Jamaica

Additionally, if you’re headed to the Caribbean on vacation and haven’t read or heard about Chikungunya (also known as CHIKV), it’s a nasty mosquito-borne disease that’s sweeping the Bahamas, Caymans, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and many other Caribbean countries. Jamaica has declared a state of emergency with Chikungunya. While the Caribbean Public Health Agency says it’s “rarely lethal,” there is no cure for the disease, and its painful effects on one’s body and joints can last for years.

I first learned of Chikungunya when two of my former neighbors contracted the disease on a Jamaican vacation last year. They shared their story with the Daily Herald — they’re from Elgin, Illinois — and the whole thing just hit too close to home for me.  Our family has vacationed in the Caribbean several times too, and the Chikungunya outbreak has scared us enough that if we travel that way again, we’ll definitely bring these mosquito patches along (as well as traditional repellant sprays for extra measure!) to try to reduce the risk as much as possible.

Perhaps I’m overreacting a bit, but strange diseases without cures terrify me.  (I also have an irrational fear of dying of a Naegleria fowleri infection — the”brain-eating” amoeba — but that’s another story…) I also hadn’t heard of Chikungunya at all until my old neighbors came down with it, so since I’m already on the topic of mosquitoes, I figured I’d pass the knowledge along.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read full Disclosure Policy.

Comments

    • Shelby says

      My brother-in-law works at a gold course and here is a spray that they use for mosquitos:

      15 drops of Lavender oil
      3-4 T. Vanilla Extract
      1/4 C. Lemon Juice

      Put mix in 16 oz. spray bottle and fill up the rest of the way with water and shake. You can buy Lavender oil at a Health food Store. They suggest using a glass bottle because of the oil. They sell a small glass bottle at the Health food store if you can’t find anywhere else.

      • Al says

        U can also use this formula on domestic pets ( use after their bath, work it in to skin n let dry naturally), n on curtains/drapes n carpet/furniture to deter fleas, ticks, bed bugs but make sure u test a small area first for staining…

  1. says

    No kidding. We were eaten ALIVE watching fireworks on the 4th, despite the Deep Woods Off, citronella candles and even wearing long sleeves to combat them.

    I should have added above that the kids wore t-shirts and shorts all week to camp – I wore my stylish camp counselor tee and capris. We definitely had enough skin exposed to potentially be bitten. I really was surprised that these patches work because I was skeptical..!

    I want to share a couple of these with my dad too and really put them to the test if he’s willing. Whenever our extended family is together, my dad is the first one in the family to get bitten by mosquitoes– the first. I don’t know what it is about him, but he must smell irresistible to mosquitoes! (Research notes that blood type and other factors actually increase some people’s attractiveness to mosquitoes.) If Dad agrees to put the Mosquito Patch to the test, I’ll report back.

  2. cbear34 says

    Jill,
    I also heard of these patches from Johnny B and have been using them for over 3 years.
    They work for me and my kids also. My kids go up to northern WI for the summer and use them and have been mosquito free for the most part. They get so busy on the water they forget to change them. The huge plus is you can swim and they are still effective. They are on a lake in the woods.
    I do have the effects of darker colored urine. The smell is exactly what you have said of being vitamin like.
    2 years ago my Aunt contracted West Nile and was hospitalized for over a week. She had to go through rehab to get back on her feet. Very nasty virus! She was out of work for more than 3 months. She lives in CO. She has fully recovered. I sent her these patches and she has been using them.
    I figure anything that is pretty much natural and can work in water was worth the try.

  3. Jeanette says

    I am one of those people that get bit….a lot!! There could be 400 people out and I would be the only one with mosquito bites. I’m going to keep these in mind next time I need bug spray.

  4. hwendt12 says

    just a note…if you do have trouble with the adhesive staying on you, rubbing alcohol should take take of the residue for you

    • says

      Thanks – it wasn’t just the adhesive, it was part of the patch too — some of the gelatinous part that has the vitamin B in it pulled off of the plastic part of the patch. I just used soap, water and a washcloth to get them off (and should have thought of rubbing alcohol – thanks!)

  5. derson125 says

    Easiest way to remove adhesive I found, is use Eucalyptus Oil. It INSTANTLY dissolves any adhesive (as well as tar, oil, grease without the oily residue).

  6. Mary says

    I used them after hearing about them on JB’s show, last year and they worked great for me. I told my niece about them she bought and tried them but said they didn’t work for her. Go figure….

  7. MichelleJ says

    I am very interested in these! Mosquitoes leave other people to bite me. I apparently have a scent that makes mosquitoes think, “Smorgasboard!” I have also had allergic reactions to certain types of mosquitoes and have had to take medications after the bites enlarge and become inflamed. I joke about it, but it makes being outdoors miserable and sometimes dangerous. We have also had issues with West Nile in our county. It would be nice to stick a patch like this on my skin and not having to worry about bathing in either Cutter or Deep Woods Off every time I go out the door.

  8. Renee says

    Do you know if you can wear these patches in the water and they still be effective? My boys also go to a camp but swim thru out the day.
    Thanks.

  9. jane says

    You can also try Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil to remove the sticky stuff from your skin. It works for everything it seems!

  10. hwendt12 says

    Because I didn’t have time to wait for an Amazon order, I went to our nearest health food store & got ‘”Don’t Bite Me” patches. I was totally thrilled with the results!!! I was at a local water park from 7-9 pm & got TWO BITES!! The other cool thing about the ones I used is that they also have an anti-inflammatory in them, so the two I DID get were gone VERY quickly.

    I’m usually very skeptical about these type of things, but I was PLEASANTLY surprised this time! :)

    (Btw, the clerk advised me to use 2 patches if a. You weigh over 200# or b. If you’ll be drinking alcohol while using them, fyi)

    • says

      That’s amazing! It is nice to know we have a couple brand options too for these — glad you found they worked for you.

      I too am the biggest skeptic when it comes to this stuff, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised by these.

  11. Dave ohl says

    I was curious about these patches so I talked to an entomologist (PHD in bugs) at Iowa State University about them. He said “Vitamin mega-doses do not change your attractiveness to mosquitoes” and they don’t work.

    • says

      I think you would have to try it – it’s not like taking a vitamin mega-dose internally (which I’ve heard mixed results about.) The patches absolutely do work for us, and they do change the scent of your skin. I can smell the difference on us when we’re using them. We used them all last year while camping and they were amazing.

      I guess you’d just have to try them and see. :)

  12. Al says

    I’ve never tried these, but this is a different take on the Mosquito Patch. I personally, don’t want to smell like vitamins, and I wouldn’t want to put one on my baby’s skin.

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