DALLAS –– Summer in North Texas means mosquitos.
But there's more than one brand that can keep those bad bugs OFF. Some have high concentrations of DEET –– the active chemical in mosquito repellant –– while others are free of it. Still, others claim to be 'natural.'
How can anyone know which ones really work?
Experts say an EPA registration number on the back of the container may be the best clue.
"When you look at the registration number, you'll know that that product has been fully reviewed for safety and efficacy by the Environmental Protection Agency," said Susan Little.
Though Little represents the DEET education program in Washington D.C., she says there are five other active ingredients that are also EPA approved: IR3535, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, p-Menthane-3, 8-diol and Citronella.
The EPA website has a list of those ingredients, the 680 approved insect repellants that contain them, and how long each product has been proven to repel mosquitos.
So, what if the product has no EPA registration number?
"There are many insect repellants on the market that are considered natural," said Little. "They do not have to test and provide the efficacy data that the registered repellants do."
That means there is no way to know if it works or if it can protect your family from summer's mosquitos. Last year, Dallas County reported 398 human cases of the West Nile Virus, the most on record there. Health officials have advised residents to wear insect repellant containing DEET to keep mosquitoes away.