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The 6 Best No-See-Um Repellents

If you’ve been left with itchy welts after being bitten by no-see-ums, you know a good insect repellent is crucial. While the best no-see-um repellents contain ingredients that are effective against biting midges (and mosquitoes), some are more effective and work longer than others. Whether you want chemical or plant-based repellents, here you’ll find both topical options as well as repellents that can be worn on clothing or used as a device.

Repellents Applied To Skin

Most topical repellents interfere with an insect’s senses to help prevent it from finding humans, and certain ingredients are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as safe and effective. According to Consumer Reports, DEET is the most widely used topical repellent, and a controlled-release formula with a concentration around 30% can offer up to 12 hours of protection. The EPA has found DEET safe, but some people don’t like its scent and it may damage plastic, like your sunglasses.

Read on for the best no-see-um repellents that’ll help prevent pesky insects from biting, written by Masha Vapnitchnaia.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

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Sawyer has an alternative [to DEET] made with Picaridin, which works just as well without spoiling your clothes.

James Wong
Freelance Writer

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Zinzi Edmundson, the founder of Treehouse newsletter, who gardens in Maine, suggests spraying your shoes, especially (she uses Sawyer’s permethrin).

Laura Fenton
Contributor

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I carry bottles of water, but I also have a Sawyer squeeze water filter. Also, if it’s cold, make sure you sleep with your water filter in your sleeping bag, so it doesn’t freeze.

Shilletha Curtis