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An expert shares the best bug and mosquito repellents for summer 2023

Let’s be honest — the saying “you’re a pest” likely originated from the influx of bug bites (we blame you, mosquitos and other bite-causers) that land on our bodies throughout the warmer months.

Not to mention, bug bikes while going on spring and summer hikes just isn’t wanted in the slightest.

Some proclaim, “oh, you get bites because you’re so sweet!” and “I can play connect-the-dots with all of my bites!” but, in all honesty, they’re not cute nor wanted. (Related: best bug zappers).

“While bug repellent sprays are generally non-specific to the insects they repel, keep in mind the target pests are biting insects such as mosquitoes and ticks while outside playing, hiking, hunting, or boating,” Jamie Haberman, medical and veterinary entomologist and owner of A Ablaze Pest Control in New Jersey — with 41 years in the industry — told the New York Post.

Luckily, we spoke to Haberman to give us the 411 on what ingredients to look for in a good bug spray or mosquito repellent. We listed the best ones below for you to shop, along with an FAQ section for a detailed overview of what to keep in mind when using them.

LAST UPDATED

December 8, 2023

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Victoria Giardina and Ruby McAuliffe

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This repellent is easy to apply and effective without staining clothes.

Eating Well
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Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent uses 20 percent picaridin to protect against ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, gnats, and other biting insects. It provides up to 12 hours of protection, so a little bit goes a long way.

Maggie Slepian

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Sawyer’s 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent delivers long-lasting protection against pesky insects like mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and gnats. Formulated with 20% picaridin — an odorless, non-greasy alternative to DEET — you can count on this spray to provide up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitos and eight hours against other bugs.

Clarissa Buch Zilberman