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The 5 Best Bug Repellents To Prevent Mosquito, Fly And Tick Bites This Summer

Whether you’re having a backyard cookout or camping with your family, nothing puts a damper quite as fast as biting insects like mosquitoes, flies and ticks. To help keep bites at bay, the best bug repellents contain safe and proven effective ingredients—and last for hours. For example, our top recommendation, the Ranger Ready Insect Repellent Spray, has an odorless formula that uses 20% picaridin and lasts for up to 12 hours.

“Repellents function by creating an invisible chemical barrier between you and the insect by masking your scent or making you smell less attractive to them,” explains Dr. Louisa Messenger, Ph.D., medical entomologist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. There are several EPA-approved chemicals that are safe and effective at repelling insects, and the most popular ones include DEET, picaridin and IR3535. Additionally, there are a few natural ingredients that are used in some repellents, including citronella and oil of lemon eucalyptus. To stop pesky bites this summer, here are the best bug repellents to keep on hand, including both spray and lotion options.

  • Best Bug Repellent Overall: Ranger Ready Insect Repellent Spray
  • Best Budget Bug Repellent: Cutter Backwoods Dry Insect Repellent
  • Best DEET Bug Repellent: Ben's 30% DEET Insect Repellent
  • Best DEET-Free Bug Repellent: Coleman SkinSmart Insect Repellent Spray
  • Best Bug Repellent Lotion : Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent Lotion

Continue learning more about the best bug repellents, written by Camryn Rabideau here.

LAST UPDATED

June 26, 2024

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Camryn Rabideau

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After studying product design and journalism in college, I became a full-time freelance writer in 2016, where I found my niche in the shopping and product testing realm. To date, I’ve conducted firsthand product testing on hundreds of items, including everything from grill pans to lawn mowers, and my work has been published on websites such as USA Today, Business Insider, The Spruce, Popular Mechanics, and more.

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