When summer comes around, I always get targeted by mosquitoes. Mosquito repellents are as essential to me as ice cream is to all of you. This article introduces various mosquito repellents and bug products commonly used in the United States, such as mosquito repellent sprays, insect repellent devices, mosquito coils (including electric mosquito coils), citronella oil mosquito lamps, and UV mosquito lamps.
- Common Ingredients in Mosquito Repellents
- 5 Safety Tips for Mosquito Repellent
- Best Mosquito Repellent Sprays
- Best Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
- Best Mosquito Patches
- Best Mosquito Coils
- 7 Mosquito Control Devices for Yards
- Best Mosquito Bite Reliefs
- 10 Mosquito Repellent Plants
- 7 Tips to Create a Mosquito-Free Home
Common Ingredients in Mosquito Repellents
In mosquito repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most of them contain DEET, followed by Picaridin and IR3535.
|Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
|Non-synthetic Plant Oil
- DEET, also known as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, was initially developed by the United States Department of Agriculture for military use in field operations. It was registered with the EPA as an insect repellent in 1957 and became available for civilian use. Currently, it is the most widely used mosquito repellent on the market and provides relatively long-lasting protection, making it suitable for areas with a high mosquito population. There have been no studies indicating long-term harm from using DEET on the human body. However, since it is a chemical compound, it may cause skin and eye irritation, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should not use mosquito repellent products with a DEET concentration exceeding 30%. Before using any mosquito repellent on infants or young children, it is advisable to consult with a pediatrician.
- Picaridin, introduced in 2005, has been on the market for a relatively shorter period of time. Currently, there are no reports indicating adverse effects from long-term use. It provides similar efficacy and duration compared to DEET at the same concentration, with less irritation to the skin and eyes.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, as the name suggests, is a synthetic oil extracted from lemon eucalyptus trees. It also has mosquito-repellent properties, but its effective duration is shorter than that of DEET and Picaridin. Note: The EPA states that children under the age of 3 should not use oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- IR3535, introduced to the United States from Europe in 1999, provides relatively shorter protection. Like DEET, it may cause skin and eye irritation.
5 Safety Tips for Mosquito Repellent
1. Apply sunscreen before using mosquito repellent.
If you want to enjoy the sun, apply sunscreen first to create a protective barrier on your skin before using mosquito repellent. The CDC does not recommend using products that combine sunscreen and mosquito repellent because the effectiveness of sunscreen wears off faster than that of mosquito repellent. It is more important to reapply sunscreen frequently than to reapply mosquito repellent. After applying sunscreen, you may not need to reapply mosquito repellent unless you see mosquitoes starting to bite.
2. Apply or spray evenly, but not excessively.
Many mosquito repellents come in aerosol or spray bottles. Shake the bottle before use and spray from a distance of 4-8 inches onto exposed skin or clothing. Avoid contact with wounds, eyes, mouth, and mucous membranes, and use sparingly around the ears. Use in well-ventilated areas and avoid inhaling mosquito spray.
3. Do not spray repellent inside clothing.
Spraying the outside of clothing provides added protection, but there is no need to spray repellent inside clothing. Test in an inconspicuous area first to avoid discoloration.
4. Do not let children apply repellent themselves.
Adults should apply the repellent to their hands and then apply it to children’s bodies. Do not apply directly to children’s hands to prevent ingestion. Mosquito repellents should not be used on babies under two months old.
5. Reapply only when necessary.
A higher concentration of mosquito repellent does not mean it is more effective; it simply means it lasts longer. Generally, a 7% DEET repellent lasts about two hours, while a 25% DEET repellent can last up to eight hours. The duration may vary depending on individual factors and the environment. You should only reapply when necessary, such as when you start to feel mosquitoes landing on your skin.
Best Mosquito Repellent Sprays
1. OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Spray
OFF! Deep Woods insect repellent is widely available and easy to find. This spray contains 25% DEET and provides up to 8 hours of protection, making it suitable for areas with a high mosquito population.
2. Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent Spray
Cutter Backwoods insect repellent comes in an aerosol spray and contains 25% DEET. It has a sweat-resistant formula that effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers, gnats, and fleas. It is great for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
3. Ben’s 30% Deet Insect Repellent Spray
Ben’s 30% Deet insect repellent contains 30% DEET and provides up to 8 hours of protection. It is suitable for outdoor use and effective against mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Zika. If children use it, parents should help apply it and avoid direct spraying on children.
4. Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent
Sawyer Premium insect repellent contains 20% Picaridin and effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects for up to 14 hours. It offers protection against Zika transmission. This product has high sales and ratings on Amazon and is available in lotion, spray, and various sizes, including a convenient 0.5oz mini spray for easy carrying.
5. REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent Spray
REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus natural insect repellent contains 30% Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and provides up to 6 hours of mosquito protection. Although it has a shorter duration compared to the previous options, it has high sales and ratings. It does not contain DEET, making it a good choice for those concerned about chemical ingredients.
6. California Baby Natural Blend Bug Repellent Spray
California Baby Natural Blend bug repellent spray is made with plant-based ingredients, including lemongrass, cedar, and citronella. It is a bit pricey but has good sales and ratings on Amazon. Its natural formula is its highlight. Although it is recommended for babies six months and older, it is advisable for parents to conduct a patch test on a small area of the baby’s skin before use.
Best Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
1. Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
Made from essential oils (lemongrass oil, citronella oil, and geraniol) and free of DEET, this waterproof bracelet is perfect for outdoor activities. Each pack contains 10 individually packaged bracelets.
2. BuggyBands Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
Made with 100% natural ingredients and without DEET, these bracelets are crafted from geraniol oil, lemongrass oil, and citronella oil. They are made of high-quality EVA material, which makes them soft, flexible, easy to wear, and durable. They can be worn on hair, wrists, and ankles.
Best Mosquito Patches
1. BuzzPatch Kids Mosquito Patch
These mosquito patches are made from all-natural plant-based ingredients. The non-woven fabric patches use medical-grade adhesive. They are child-friendly and parent-approved: kids love the colorful and cute smiley face designs, while parents appreciate the absence of harmful chemicals.
2. RiptGear Mosquito Patch
These patches are made with all-natural plant-based ingredients and are suitable for children and adults. They can be attached to various surfaces such as clothes, tables, backpacks, and even strollers.
Best Mosquito Coils
1. W4W Mosquito Coil
Though old-fashioned, it is effective and can be used outdoors with little or no wind. Each coil burns for 5-7 hours, and one coil is placed every 10 feet.
2. OFF! Mosquito Coil
Provides up to 4 hours of mosquito protection and is suitable for use in porches, patios, and other slightly breezy areas.
3. Portable Mosquito Coil Holder
Includes a set of 2 mosquito coil holders, each measuring 5.35 inches, capable of accommodating most spiral mosquito coils.
7 Mosquito Control Devices for Yards
1. DynaTrap DT2000XLP-TUNSR Large Mosquito and Fly Insect Trap
This large mosquito and fly insect trap provides effective protection for up to 1 acre of area. It attracts and captures mosquitoes, biting flies, house flies, moths, unseen insects, June bugs, wasps, yellow jackets, stink bugs, gnats, and biting midges.
2. Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
This rechargeable mosquito repeller creates a 20-foot mosquito protection zone, making it ideal for backyards, poolside areas, patios, and more. The E55 is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides 5.5 hours of continuous mosquito protection on a single charge. With its rechargeable battery source, longer-lasting repellent supply, and user-friendly interface, the E55 is easier to use compared to other yard mosquito repellents.
3. Thermacell MR450 Portable Mosquito Repeller
This portable mosquito repeller creates a 15-foot mosquito protection zone. If you prefer a more durable and portable mosquito repeller, the MR450 is a great choice. It is compact, lightweight, and rugged, designed to clip onto backpacks. Powered by a compact 12-hour fuel cartridge, it repels annoying mosquitoes without smoke, flames, or citronella oil. It uses a naturally derived repellent based on plant discoveries and is EPA reviewed.
4. Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller
Provides a 15-foot protection zone. Easy to use with just the push of a button to repel mosquitoes. TSA-approved for travel. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers 6.5 hours of mosquito protection on a single charge. Each replaceable repellent cartridge provides up to 40 hours of protection. Smoke-free, flame-free, odor-free, citronella-free, and no need to apply chemicals to the skin. EPA reviewed. 2-year warranty/3-year extended warranty.
5. Flowtron BK-40D UV Insect Killer
Non-toxic attractant + high-intensity UV light attract and kill insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects with a powerful electric grid. Covers up to 1 acre, providing reliable and effective indoor and backyard insect control. No chemicals, insecticides, or harmful sprays; the inner grid is enclosed in a plastic housing to prevent accidental contact. Weatherproof, durable, easy to clean—simply pull out the collection tray of the electric insect killer and empty it. Included brush enhances cleaning effectiveness. Can be placed on a flat surface or hung.
6. Livin’ Well 4000V High-Power Electric Bug Zapper
Covers a defense range of up to 1,500 square feet, protecting indoor and outdoor living spaces from mosquito intrusion. Equipped with an 18-watt UVA bug light, galvanized steel insect grid, and bug zapper, it attracts, captures, and eliminates mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and more.
7. Outdoor Citronella Oil Mosquito Lamps (Set of 4)
Made of durable premium iron material with an electroplated finish for extra wear, corrosion, and weather protection, ensuring a longer lifespan. The fiberglass wick provides hours of burning time. The wide-mouth design makes it convenient to add citronella oil without spillage. The wick cover easily extinguishes the flame after use and protects the wick. The bottom has stakes for easy placement in grass or on the beach.
Best Mosquito Bite Reliefs
After mosquito bites, you may experience itching. You can apply an ice pack or cold compress, or use over-the-counter anti-itch creams such as Hydrocortisone. You can also take over-the-counter antihistamines such as Loratadine for relief. As for skin swelling caused by mosquito bites, cold application with an ice pack or cold compress is usually sufficient.
1. SALLYE ANDER Don’t Bite Me Natural Insect Bite Relief Cream
Formulated with cedarwood oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, geranium oil, and clove oil. Also contains thyme oil, rosemary oil, and eugenol. It needs to be reapplied every 4 hours and is effective against black flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. It is also touted as an effective anti-itch cream, with some reviews claiming it works better for itch relief than as a mosquito repellent.
2. Emu Joy Bug Bite Itch Relief Stick
This handy itch relief stick provides quick relief from pain and itching caused by mosquito bites. It can also soothe sunburns and be used as a first aid burn ointment.
3. Cortizone 10 Intensive Healing Anti-Itch Cream
This moisturizing anti-itch cream offers fast relief from itching and provides hours of relief. It contains 10 moisturizing ingredients, including aloe, and 1% Hydrocortisone for effective relief. It is highly rated by many customers.
4. After Bite Insect Bite Relief Ointment
For treating mosquito bites using natural remedies, you can use baking soda. One of the commonly used natural ointment brands is After Bite, which contains 5% baking soda as its active ingredient. Additionally, honey can help prevent infection and aloe vera can soothe the skin. Some people also use toothpaste, although the reasoning behind it is unclear, perhaps due to its cooling effect.
10 Mosquito Repellent Plants
If you’re tired of getting bitten and dealing with the hassle of mosquitoes, in addition to using mosquito repellent products, you can also consider planting effective mosquito-repelling plants to help keep mosquitoes away. Aromatic plants and herbs are the best mosquito-repelling plants because their scents are disliked by insects.
Lavender is one of the most effective mosquito-repelling plants. Its fragrance is potent, and it can work without the need to crush and apply it directly to the skin. As a Mediterranean plant, lavender thrives in warm and dry summers, but it needs to be grown indoors in colder regions.
As one of the spiciest culinary herbs, basil emits a strong aroma that can deter mosquitoes and flies.
In addition to their vibrant colors, marigolds have a unique scent that can repel mosquitoes and other garden pests. Marigolds are compact, making them suitable for growing in pots as annual plants.
Rosemary releases its essential oils when burned, making it more effective as a mosquito repellent. So, when entertaining in your yard, try throwing a few sprigs of rosemary onto the grill or fire pit—it should help ward off those “blood-sucking” mosquitoes.
5. Citronella Grass
Citronella grass is a popular choice for outdoor areas and entrances to homes, as it helps repel mosquitoes as well as other pests like aphids. Crushing citronella grass and applying it locally can repel mosquitoes. Citronella grass requires warmer temperatures to thrive, so if the weather is too cold, it should be grown indoors.
Lemongrass (or lemon-scented grass) is closely related to citronella grass and also contains oils disliked by mosquitoes. You can differentiate between the two plants by observing the base—lemongrass has a yellow-green color with a white base, while citronella grass has a pale red base.
7. Lemon Thyme
Lemon thyme is a citrus-scented plant that can be used outdoors or indoors to repel mosquitoes. Burning a few small sprigs is enough to keep mosquitoes away from the surrounding area. By the way, lemon thyme is one of the best herbs and adds delicious flavor when cooked with fish, chicken, and vegetables.
Mint is a versatile herb with various culinary and medicinal uses, known for its digestive properties. It has a strong scent and is also highly effective in deterring mosquitoes. Mint can be invasive at the root, so it’s often best to plant it in a pot.
Mosquitoes dislike catmint, and it’s very easy to grow. You can make your own mosquito repellent by cutting its flowers and boiling them.
Plants from the allium family, such as onions and garlic, emit a smell that effectively repels various garden pests, including mosquitoes.
7 Tips to Create a Mosquito-Free Home
1. Prevent mosquitoes from entering your home
If you want a mosquito-free home, the first step is to make sure mosquitoes don’t get inside. When the sun goes down, be sure to tightly close all doors and windows, as mosquitoes are more active after dusk. You can purchase door strips to seal gaps around doors and windows or invest in a magnetic screen door for added protection, like the one in the video below.
2. Prevent mosquito breeding in your home
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so it’s important to focus on cleaning areas with standing water in your home, such as radiator trays, water basins, floor drains, kitchens, curtains, balconies, and potted plants. Keeping your surroundings clean and dry can effectively prevent mosquito breeding.
3. Plant mosquito-repellent plants
One simple way to get rid of mosquitoes is by growing mosquito-repellent plants indoors. You can place them in your rooms or even on your office desk. Examples include lemongrass, basil, marigold, and others. These plants emit odors that mosquitoes dislike, thus achieving the purpose of repelling them. Some plants can even ward off other pests and even mice! Detailed information about using plants as mosquito repellents is provided later in the article.
4. Place lemon slices and cloves around your house
Mosquitoes dislike cloves and anything citrus-scented, so cutting a lemon in half and inserting cloves into it creates a natural and harmless indoor mosquito repellent.
5. Use garlic spray for mosquito control
If you prefer not to use mosquito sprays containing chemicals, you can consider making a simple DIY garlic spray. Crush or chop several cloves of garlic, boil them in water for a while, and then pour the solution into a spray bottle to spray around your house, driving away mosquitoes indoors.
6. Place a dish of soapy water
You can place a large dish of soapy water indoors to control mosquitoes that are constantly buzzing around. To ensure the dish has enough soap scent, you can use dish soap or detergent as the ingredient. Here’s how it works: mosquitoes are attracted to the water, and once they land on the soapy water, they become trapped in the bubbles and eventually killed.
7. Place a cup of beer or other alcoholic beverages
Mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of alcohol. Placing a cup of beer or other alcoholic beverages at home can also serve as a mosquito repellent.
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