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The Best Bug Sprays, Backed By Our Testing

Stop all kinds of creepy crawlies in their tracks with these 8 bug sprays.

Insect bites aren’t just unpleasant—they also have some serious health ramifications. Mosquitoes can carry malaria, Zika virus, and West Nile virus while ticks can cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and others. Bug repellents prevent both bites from insects and any diseases they may carry.

The top bug sprays on the market can protect you from mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, biting flies, no-see-ums, and other types of biting insects. But it can be difficult to navigate the many products out there. A good starting point for choosing a bug spray is to consider the active ingredient and the delivery method. The active ingredient for most bug sprays is DEET or picaridin, although some of the more natural options use oil of lemon eucalyptus as an alternative. You can also find bug sprays in aerosol, spritz, or lotion forms.

To find the best bug repellents, we interviewed experts to create our list, then personally tested each product’s effectiveness, coverage, ease of use, value, and smell. We also considered active ingredients, application methods, EPA labeling, and what types of insects each spray could repel.

Find more detailed reviews on the complete list of best bug sprays, written by By Elizabeth Yuko, PhD and Caroline Thomasone here.


December 3, 2023

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Verywell Health

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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.

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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.
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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.

WXYZ Detroit 7
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