Biting and stinging insects can ruin any day outside, whether it’s fishing from a boat, hunting for spring turkeys or hosting a backyard party.
Fortunately, there’s relief with a variety of sprays, lotions, electronic devices and more, all aimed at preventing hungry insects from making a meal out of you.
Here are some insect-repellent products that can help keep mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers and other bugs at bay when you need them gone.
Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent - Gen 2.0
Thermacell has brought pest relief to outdoors folks for 20 years, with repelling devices powered by small fuel cartridges or rechargeable batterys. A 2018 Popular Science Best of What’s New Award winner, the Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent ($49.99) provides an odorless, no-mess way to keep mosquitoes at bay in a 15-foot radius. The second generation of the device has longer run time (6.5-plus hours) and one-button control. Powered by a lithium-ion battery rather than Thermacell fuel cartridges. Uses refillable heat-activated repellent mats. Thermacell has other great repellent items, such as Portable Repellers, Patio Shield (below), and the Backpacker.
thermacell.com | $49.99
OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellent
A battery-powered clip-on fan circulates repellent and is said to provide up to 12 hours of individual protection from mosquitoes in the outdoors. Clip it on your belt or onto something next to you. Vapor from active ingredient metofluthrin (31.2 percent) surrounds your space to turn back the bugs. Uses two AAA batteries.
off.com | $8.99
Burgess 1443 Propane Insect Fogger
Those who want to rid their yard of biting insects in a bigger way might be interested in a fogger, such as the Burgess 1443 Propane Insect Fogger. The portable fogger can treat 5,000 square feet, killing and repelling mosquitoes and biting flies for up to 6 hours. Propane and insecticide sold separately. Use outdoors only and wear a mask.
thefountainheadgroup.com | $84.95
Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
Scent- and DEET-free, the Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller creates 15-foot protection zone. Compact, stylish, easy to use and great for a patio, porch or deck. Uses the same proven fuel-powered technology as other Thermacell products.
Thermacell.com | $24.99
Off! Patio And Deck Coil
Mosquito coils have been in use for decades, and particularly effective on your patio when the air is still. In ideal conditions, Off! coils last up to four hours and protect an area of 100 square feet. It’s “Country Fresh” scent is much more pleasant than what was produced by mosquito coils of the past.
off.com | $7
Cutter Citro Guard Triple-Wick Candle
There’s some doubt about the effectiveness of citronella candles in staving off bugs, but they are attractive to humans who love the lemony scent. And many believe citronella is highly effective against mosquitoes. The Citro Guard, made with real citronella oil, is said to repel mosquitos and other insects within a three-foot radius. The candles burn up to 40 hours and should be spaced at least 18 inches apart. READ: Which repellants work best?
cutterinsectrepellents.com | $9
APPLY TO SKIN
Repel Dry Family Insect Repellent
With 10 percent DEET (a.k.a. N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Repel’s Dry Family Insect Repellent spray is safe for children. Experts suggest DEET, which disrupts an insect’s ability to detect human-produced carbon dioxide, is best at under 30 percent. Be sure to follow the directions for application. Repels mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers and fleas
repel.com | $7
Ben's 100 Tick & Insect Repellent
If you’re looking for more DEET power for really ornery insects, Ben’s 100 Max has the maximum amount (30 percent) and provides 10 hours of insect protection from ticks and other bugs that may carry infection like Zika, West Nile Virus (WNV), Lyme diease, Malaria, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and other infectious diseases.
bens30.com | $5.99
Off! Deep Woods
At 25 percent DEET, Off! Deep Woods repellent has eight hours of protection. Repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats and chiggers. The Deep Woods line, a fixture in the mosquito-repelling world, also has items with picaridin, a synthetic repellent modeled after a compound that occurs naturally in the black pepper plant.
off.com | $6
Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
DEET-free, Repel uses lemon eucalyptus oil (30 percent) in a pump spray that can be applied to skin or clothing. While not considered as effective as DEET products it still repels mosquitoes sufficiently for six hours. Smells great, too.
repel.com | $5
Vornado EXO5 Heavy-Duty Air Circulator
No sprays, lotions or foggers are needed with a high-velocity fan sending a breeze across your back deck — or campsite — that’s strong enough to keep bugs from landing on you and stinging. It also keeps you cool in hot weather. Compact and clipable, this Vornado fan moves air up to 70 feet, swivels 360 degrees and is durable. Looks pretty cool, too.
vornado.com | $89.99
Sawyer Premium Permethrin Clothing Spray
For use on clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear, Sawyer Permethrin spray bonds to fabric for six weeks (or six washes). Permethrin kills and/or repels mosquitoes, ticks and more, and will provided long-lasting bug protection. It won’t stain or damage clothing, gear and equipment, including plastics or finished surfaces.
Sawyer.com | $16
L.L. Bean No Fly Zone Clothing
L.L. Bean’s line of insect-repelling clothing is pre-treated with permethrin, and is effective up to 70 washes. Also supplies sun protection (UPF 50+) and the wrinkle-free blend of nylon and polyester is light-weight and comfortable. No Fly Zone clothing comes in a variety of styles for men and women. Watch this video for more info.
llbean.com | Prices vary
- The American Mosquito Control Association offers these suggestions to follow when using insect repellents:
- Apply repellent sparingly only to exposed skin or clothing.
- Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips; do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes.
- Avoid applying high-concentration (>30% DEET) products to the skin, particularly of children.
- Avoid applying repellents to portions of children’s hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
- Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents.
- Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
- Use repellent sparingly; one application will last approximately 4-6 hours. Saturation does not increase efficacy.
- Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
- If a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs, wash treated skin, and call a physician. Take the repellent container to the physician.