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How to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks Away

Simple strategies to keep these biters at bay, plus what to do about stinging insects

Every year, mosquitoes and ticks infect hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. with diseases—including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and more—that can have serious consequences. The best strategy to avoid those illnesses is to use multiple layers of protection rather than just one.

Using insect repellent is obviously key, but the most effective bug avoidance requires you to take additional precautions.

“The most important thing is to avoid getting bitten in the first place,” says Rebecca Eisen, PhD, a research biologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Fortunately, there are really simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family.”

Your Deck and Yard

Mosquitoes: According to the CDC, an important strategy for keeping mosquitoes out of your yard is to eliminate their preferred breeding ground: standing water. Keep your gutters clean and birdbaths, old tires, wheelbarrows, and swimming pool covers free of standing water. Clear away ivy and decaying leaves, too.

As far as your deck or patio is concerned, some repellent products work much better than others. Several years ago our testers tried out two area repellents—citronella candles and a battery-powered diffuser that blows out geraniol—and found they were ineffective at keeping mosquitoes away. An oscillating pedestal fan did much better. When set on high, it cut mosquito landings by 45 to 65 percent for the people sitting close to it.

Continue learning more about ways on how to keep mosquitoes and ticks away this summer here.

LAST UPDATED

September 13, 2022

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Consumer Reports

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Consumer Reports works to create a fair and just marketplace for all. As a mission-driven, independent, nonprofit member organization, CR empowers and informs consumers, incentivizes corporations to act responsibly, and helps policymakers prioritize the rights and interests of consumers in order to shape a truly consumer-driven marketplace.

MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team