Questions arise about strength of bug spray in Zika fight

With the unofficial start of summer upon us many are concerned about the pending arrival of the mosquitos that carry the Zika virus.

Consumer Reports is out with its list of the most effective insect repellents, which could help keep you safe.

One of the top Consumer Reports’ picks for the most effective bug sprays is a plant-oil-based repellent: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.

It kept Zika-carrying mosquitos away for seven hours, but that’s where good news for so-called “natural bug sprays” ends.

“Except for oil of lemon eucalyptus, in our tests we didn’t find that any of the natural insect repellents worked very well,” says Consumer Reports’ Trisha Calvo. “None of them kept mosquitos away for longer than a hour.”

Consumer Reports looked at 16 insect repellents, testing them on their ability to ward off mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. The virus can cause birth defects if pregnant women are infected.

Synthetic chemicals like Picaridin and DEET were effective in the right concentrations.

“You don’t want to exceed a 30% concentration of DEET. In our tests we found that lower levels are very effective,” Calvo notes.

Experts say it’s also safe for pregnant women and young children.