'Mosquito Steve' takes hands-on approach in search of perfect repellent



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Posted on July 9, 2012 at 10:35 PM

DALLAS - He carries a stopwatch, a clip board, and more than 10 years of mosquito research.

Steve Moore calls himself "Mosquito Steve." His life goal is to figure out how to repel the nuisance naturally, without killing them. To do that, he visits vacant properties with standing water, and is briefly breeding them in his own backyard.

"[At] one particular property over in University Park, I had about 3,500 land on me over a six-hour period," Moore said. "I probably had 900 mosquito bites."

And months of illness.

"I think I had West Nile virus," Moore said. "I was sick for a couple of months, my muscles ached. It was flu-like symptoms."

The research is grueling. Moore spends anywhere between three-to-eight hours out on many nights in order to see when these mosquitoes come alive, and what will repel them.

To do that,  he takes a timed control count first. Then he puts DEET on his left side, a proven repellent. Next up, a combination of essential oils on his right side.

"We'll treat with my secret formula," he said. "Which was working really well, but it only lasted 30 minutes before."

So he tweaked the mixture to try again.

He said geraniol oil, derived from certain plants, knocks down mosquitoes, but they will come back. Cedarcide is another favorite.

But at the end of the day, it's a combination of multiple oils he says makes a difference. And that's coming from a guy who said he's tried all the urban myths.

"I put dryer sheets in my pocket, and stuff like that," he said. "What happens is, there are certain people these might work for. They have just the right blood type."

But how safe is what he's doing? We asked about the temporary buckets in his backyard.

"These mosquitoes are going to be laying their eggs somewhere, but they're laying them here," he said.

He argues they get enough blood from him, they don't need to go anywhere else.

"I'm going to be out here for two hours doing this now," Moore said.

Counting, swiping mosquitoes away, and then doing it all over again; hoping to find a non-toxic solution to a pesky problem.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com