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Mosquitoes? There’s an app for that… sort of.



The wife and I are back home after a brief nature walk, which we made a bit briefer than planned after being beseiged by mosquitoes. In retrospect, we should have gone heavier on the repellent, but we were thick in the woods and swarmed by blood-sucking insects by the time we figured that out. Nothing we could do about it… or was there?

Having no other resources, I reached for my iPhone and looked up anti-mosquito sonic repellents in the App Store. I remembered there was a big surge of these a while back and figured it was the ideal time to try one. Or more accurately, I had nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain if it worked (emphasis on “if”).

Sure enough, there were quite a few offerings. Most were 99 cents, but I wasn’t quite that desperate yet, so I tried a free one first. Suffice to say, you get what you pay for.

The second one I tried wasn’t a mosquito  repellent, but a teenager repellent that supposedly produced a squeal that only people in certain age groups can hear. I tried the full spectrum and found that mosquitoes aren’t people, and I have the  auditory prowess  of a 13-year old.

Okay, enough was enough. I took the plunge and dropped down 99 cents for the best-reviewed mosquito repellent app I could find. It had  multiple sound options, so if one pitch didn’t work  I can try another that might. Turns out the mosquitoes around Lake Accotink weren’t scared by any of them. Failure across the board.

That said, aside from the perpetual flailing and unavoidable bites, it was a very good mobile computing experience. Sure, I didn’t find an app that did the job, but  trying to find an app that could physically repel mosquitoes  was a pretty ridiculous endeavor anyway driven solely  by desperation. No, the good part was that I did it without stopping (because that’s when the mosquitoes get you) and managed to download, install, and try three different apps within a  twenty minute span. How’s that for mobility and connectivity?

The experience has given me a new appreciation for  the convenience of the new wave of app stores that have arrived. Obviously fighting off a swarm of flying parasites is an extreme case, but a more reasonable situation would be trying to hang a shelf and not being able to find your level, so you  download an accelerometer-based  level app. Or if you don’t have a pad and paper handy to draw out an idea, just grab a drawing app.  The ability to grab  apps on-the-go from a  central source that lets you comparison shop is very powerful. Sadly, I must also wonder why  we  don’t have such  power for our  larger and supposedly more powerful  mobile computers.



  1. Glenn

    05/26/2009 at 2:15 pm

    Uh, the apps worked on my Rumor Phone, even the free ones. And we got lots of skeeders here at Swampy’s Naturist Camp and Ground Water Research Station, Deridder, La. Do those Iphoney things ever work anywhere? Our gal in charge of entertainment and activities, Molly Wood, says NOOOO! See here:
    And just for your infermation; Yes naturists can wear a fanny pack- DUH.

  2. Brian Prince

    05/26/2009 at 3:01 pm

    Ultrasonic insect repellents have never had a compelling positive result under experimental conditions. Any perceived benefit one might see is due to confirmation bias on the part of the user.

    It’s highly doubtful that an iphone speaker can even generate any meaningful amount of ultrasound.

  3. Glenn

    05/26/2009 at 3:18 pm

    I think yer right, Prince. That perrty well sums up my observation of iphone users too.

  4. Sumocat

    05/26/2009 at 6:36 pm

    Guys, seriously, I had a moral at the end of that story.

    Also, Glenn, I’m pretty sure Brian’s comment on “perceived benefit” refers to your observation. “Failure across the board” doesn’t exactly spell benefit.

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