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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Plano Mom Alison Malone says her kids are mosquito magnets—pointing to four fresh bites on her young daughter’s forehead.

Madeline, 14, says they love playing in the family’s lush, shaded backyard—but, they get bitten “every time we come out, usually… at least one, usually more.”

So what’s a Mom to do?

“We tried natural sprays—and I think the mosquitoes like it!” says Malone.  “We tried the more poisonous stuff and we use that a lot.  But, I just feel uncomfortable constantly coating them with chemicals.”

And she’s not alone.  A quick internet search turned up home remedies ranging from Vanilla extract, to tea tree oil, Listerine and Bounce dryer sheets.  So, do they work?

“If you find something that works for you, then go ahead and use it.  But, the standard—the gold standard for insect repellant—are products containing DEET,” says Scott Sawlis, Dallas County’s Entomologist.

“My 3-year-old son knows that when we go out, not only is the sunscreen at the swimming pool used; but, in the evening hours we slather on the insect repellant.”

Sawlis says products containing 20-30% concentration of DEET are effective—lesser amounts for kids—and he reminds parents to apply the insect repellant with their hands.  “Never, ever, spray directly on your kids.”

The Centers for Disease Control also suggests other effective repellants—but, Listerine doesn’t make the list.

Ireta Willis—‘Momsie’ Ireta to the grandkids— says she doesn’t have much confidence in so called ‘old wives tales’ as she laughingly told us: “And I’m an old wife.”  But, she says hers is also a chemical-free plan, and proven effective.

“Well, when the mosquitoes come out, we go in… basically, that’s the only safe way to do it.  It’s really a concern and I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

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