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Which insect repellent works best?

Consumer Reports enlists real mosquitoes and real people to test repellents

A bug bite can leave more than just an itchy bump. Mosquitoes can spread diseases like the West Nile virus, and ticks can transmit many diseases, including Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Consumer Reports explains that the best offense is a good defense, which includes using insect repellent that keeps pests away.

Every year, Consumer Reports tests lotions, sprays, and wipes, including plant-based repellents, on real people using real mosquitoes to find the best insect repellents.

A repellent fails if a mosquito bites twice in one five-minute session. Or if there’s one bite in each of two consecutive five-minute sessions.

Consumer Reports currently tests repellents against only mosquitoes, but in past years, it has found that repellents that work well against mosquitoes also tend to work well against ticks.

The results: the most effective repellents against mosquitoes and ticks contain 25% to 30% DEET as their active ingredient.

At the top of Consumer Reports ratings, Ben's Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes, Ben's Tick & Insect Repellent Wilderness Formula Pump, and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8. All excel in protection.

If you’re concerned about using DEET, consider this…Consumer Reports ratings include over 50 repellents and more than 20 recommended ones, so it should be easy to find a way to beat the bugs that’s right for you.”

A bug bite can leave more than just an itchy bump. Mosquitoes can spread diseases like the West Nile virus, and ticks can transmit many diseases, including Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Consumer Reports explains that the best offense is a good defense, which includes using insect repellent that keeps pests away.

Every year, Consumer Reports tests lotions, sprays, and wipes, including plant-based repellents, on real people using real mosquitoes to find the best insect repellents.

A repellent fails if a mosquito bites twice in one five-minute session. Or if there’s one bite in each of two consecutive five-minute sessions.

Consumer Reports currently tests repellents against only mosquitoes, but in past years, it has found that repellents that work well against mosquitoes also tend to work well against ticks.

The results: the most effective repellents against mosquitoes and ticks contain 25% to 30% DEET as their active ingredient.

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

LAST UPDATED

May 29, 2024

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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.

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Effective against a wide range of insects: Sawyer Permethrin is known to be effective against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects.

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Sawyer Products SP5432 Picaridin insect repellent spray is also very small and compact. You can easily take this insect repellent anywhere you want. This makes it an ideal option for any traveler and adventurer who wants to have a safe journey.

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Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.

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