13 methods for keeping bugs away, according to entomologists and experts
- Some insects are nuisances, but others, like mosquitoes, can pose a health risk.
- There are ways to deter these bugs while keeping your local ecosystem safe.
- We asked three entomologists about the types of products that deter insects and which don't work.
Warm and sunny days are prime times for outdoor gatherings. But the nice weather and smell of humans and their barbecues and picnics also bring on a variety of bugs. We asked three entomologists how to best keep them at bay.
While they didn't offer specific recommendations, they steered us toward the types of products that can help deter mosquitoes, bees, ants, wasps, flies, and other insects.
"Although most people think of insects as something to be avoided, many of them are so important to the environment," said Corrie Moreau, PhD, director and curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection. For that reason, we don't recommend products like bug zappers and insecticides that kill a variety of types of insects.
Many of the suggestions below aren't meant to be used on their own. Instead, you'll want to employ several of them to reduce your risk of attracting insects.
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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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