11 Best Bug and Mosquito Repellents of 2023
Protect yourself outdoors with these effective sprays, machines and candles.
With warmer temperatures come backyard cookouts, summer parties and — we hate to say it — tons of mosquitos. Humid environments are prime breeding grounds for these pesky bugs, but they can survive almost anywhere, as long as they have access to water. Just because their presence is inevitable doesn't mean you have to suffer through itchy mosquito bites and annoying buzzes: Take matters into your own hands by protecting your yard with the best mosquito repellents and bug sprays.
The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have battled all manner of backyard nuisances for decades. They can tell you why mosquito bites are so itchy (it's a reaction caused by the salivary proteins of female mosquitoes), why pregnant people tend to get munched on (the extra carbon dioxide and heat their bodies release) and which treatments provide the fastest relief (go for the 1% hydrocortisone cream). To put together this list of the most effective bug repellents, we also tapped our extensive network of outside experts, including Megan E. Meuti, P.h.D., an assistant professor of entomology at Ohio State University.
Based on our research, testing and vetting, these are the best mosquito repellants for keeping bugs from reaching you in the first place.
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Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.
Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.
The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.
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