The 7 Best Insect Repellents to Ward Off Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fleas, and Pesky Bugs
Repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other pesky insects.
Flies, mosquitos, and ticks can dampen any outdoor excursion, especially on a hot summer day. A short hike can quickly become a swat fest when the bugs are out, and there’s nothing worse than having to shoo mosquitoes and flies away while using GPS to navigate a trail.
Thankfully, the U.S. military developed a nifty little chemical solution to handle these annoyances: insect repellent. DEET and permethrin work to camouflage your body and kill bugs on contact, so you don’t have to flail your arms around in the woods.
Whether you’re having a backyard gathering, planning a picnic, or hiking the Appalachian Trail, these insect repellents keep the bugs at bay.
The Best Mosquito Repellents
- Best Overall: Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent (2-Pack)
- Best Lotion: Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion
- Best for Home Use: Thermacell E55 E-Series Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
- Most Natural: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent
- Most Powerful: Ben’s Max Formula Tick and Insect Repellent (2-Pack)
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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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