According to the survey, although 93% of Americans have heard of Zika and 79% know that mosquito bites are the main method of transmission, 22% of Americans cannot identify a single active ingredient deemed effective by the CDC for repelling mosquitoes, and 82% mistakenly believe at least one product sold as mosquito repellent but not recommended by the CDC will protect them from mosquitoes.
“People know they should avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes,” said Eric Kenney, the company's division vice president of Home & Garden Marketing. “The problem is that they don’t understand how to do it. While the knowledge of Zika in general has grown tremendously in the last year, consumers need more information about the most important tool to protect themselves when spending time outdoors: mosquito repellent. We developed Zika virus information pages on Cutter and Repel’s websites with tips and information for consumers just for this reason.”
The survey included 1,176 interviews of Americans aged 18 years or older using an online opt-in panel. It found many misconceptions about mosquito repellents and active ingredients. For example, 67% of respondents identified citronella as a very or somewhat effective active ingredient for repelling insects. However, citronella is not one of the active ingredients that the CDC recommends as effective. DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are the only recommended active ingredients, but only 12% of those surveyed correctly indicated that all four were effective. Conversely, 73% of respondents identified at least one ingredient not recommended by the CDC for use as repellents as effective for that purpose.
Most people are aware that the best defense against contracting Zika is to not get bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. At least 93% of surveyed Americans are planning some outdoor activities this summer, and 65% are certain or almost certain a mosquito will bite them compared to only 34% reporting they expect to get a sunburn. Juxtapose that with the fact that 60% of Americans frequently use sunscreen and only 40% frequently apply mosquito repellent, the most effective way to prevent mosquito bites when spending time outdoors, and it is clear that people are not taking the steps needed to prevent mosquito bites. This might be due, in part, to the fact that healthcare providers are not discussing mosquito repellent with their patients nearly as often as they mention sunscreen (23% vs. 48%, respectively).
Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Pet, Home & Garden Division products include Spectracide, Cutter, Repel, Hot Shot, Black Flag and Liquid Fence.