As West Nile Virus activity surges in Sacramento County, it's more important than ever to use mosquito repellent.

But which one should you use? It turns out, there's a lot of myths around ways to repel the biting pests.

"A lot of people think that if you eat a lot of garlic, if you eat a lot of bananas, if you maybe put a bounce sheet in your pocket, that all of those things will keep mosquitoes away," Luz Maria Robles with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District explained.

So, do they work? Sorry, but according to Robles, no.

Another common remedy is citronella -- an herbal oil found in lemongrass. Citronella candles are advertised as a natural alternative to repellents like DEET. But, although it's natural, it doesn't really work. A study in the Journal of Insect Science found it has no affect at all on banishing the bugs.

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"Citronella has very limited efficacy and you have to be very close to the candle if you want any kind of protection," Robles said.

According to Robles, repellents that do work include DEET and picaridin, as well as oil of lemon eucalyptus -- a more organic option.

"That is the one mosquito repellent that the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) recommends if you're looking for a more natural alternative," Robles said of lemon eucalyptus oil.

So, in gist: Be smart, get a repellent that actually works, and be aware: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus are most active at dawn and dusk.

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