It’s officially summer now, and while the warm season provides the perfect weather for outdoor get-togethers and sporting activities, it’s also the prime season for bugs. Unfortunately, insects like mosquitoes enjoy the warmer weather just as much as we do, and these biting bugs can be more than a persistent nuisance – they can become a serious health hazard by transmitting diseases like the Zika virus, West Nile, and dengue fever.
Fortunately, modern insecticides such as DEET and Picaridin along with electronic innovations like zapper lamps make mosquito management much less of a hassle than it used to be. To help you keep the biting bugs at bay, we’ve rounded up eight of the most effective mosquito repellent products on the market today, from handy sprays to electric bug zappers.
Best bug sprays
Off! is the go-to brand for DEET-based bug sprays, and the Deep Woods Insect Repellent has been a staple for years. DEET is an incredibly effective chemical-based bug repellent and 25 percent of the Off! Deep Woods formula is made of the stuff, providing excellent relief from mosquitoes for as long as eight hours before needing to be reapplied. The aerosol spray is super easy to apply on the skin, as well. If you’re not interested in the insect science and just want to put the mosquito-repelling into action, this is the spray for you.
Whether you’re going on a backpacking expedition or a camping trip, lounging on the beach, or just want to enjoy some peaceful (and bug-free) time on your porch, you can grab a two-pack of Off! Deep Woods Mosquito Repellent for just $15. This mosquito, tick, and all-around bite repellent has every active ingredient you need to fight the good fight.
If you don’t want to use DEET and prefer an all-natural bug spray instead, Repel is a fantastic choice for insect repellent. According to the product label, this natural repellent contains lemon eucalyptus oil which is a time-tested organic compound that mosquitoes hate (other natural oils that repel bugs are peppermint oil and lemongrass oil, if you’re looking for some to use along with this). It comes in a handy four-ounce spray bottle that easily fits in your pocket or bag and the natural formula repels mosquitoes for up to six hours.
The Repel Lemon Eucalyptus natural insect repellent is the top-rated DEET-free bug spray on the market, and it’s affordable, too, at only $5 per bottle. You can use this natural mosquito repellent as a lotion, pump spray, or lemony cologne if you so desire.
Topical bug sprays are essential, but if you want to go a step further, you can ward mosquitoes away from your property altogether with a spray concentrate like this one from Cutter. You attach this to your garden hose and spray it around your home, targeting areas where mosquitoes might be breeding or are more of a nuisance, and the repellent compounds linger for up to four weeks (even when it rains).
A single 32-ounce bottle is enough to treat an area as large as 5,000 square feet and rings in at just $7 from Amazon.
Best bug zappers
The iconic bug zapper has been around for decades now and remains popular for a reason: It’s simple and effective. Mosquitoes and other annoying flying insects are attracted to the glow of the Flowtron electronic zapper, only to meet their demise with that satisfying “clacking” sound that immediately lets you know there’s one less bug around to harass you and your loved ones.
The Flowtron electronic insect killer comes in a few different sizes which offer various area coverage, but the standard 1-acre model can be yours for $52 ($13 off) from Amazon.
These mosquito killer light bulbs from Gogogu offer a unique (and smaller) spin on the traditional bug zapper, screwing right into your 110-volt light bulb socket — perfect for your porch or patio. The Gogogu lamps do double duty as bright LED light bulbs and insect zappers, and you can set them to do whatever you need them to (light the area, zap mosquitoes, or both at the same time) with a couple flips of the light switch.
At $17 from Amazon for a two-pack, these mosquito killer light bulbs are energy- and cost-efficient alternatives to bulkier bug zappers.
Best bug repellents
Citronella is a plant extract that has long been used to repel annoying insects, and science has shown that it is effective at keeping certain species of flies and mosquitoes away. Made in Europe, these lemon-scented tealight candles from Zion Judaica burn for up to four hours and are small enough that you can place a few all around to ensure optimal area coverage.
Note that the effectiveness of citronella may depend on the particular species of bugs in your area, and these candles are best used in conjunction with another repellent or killer like one of the aforementioned bug zappers. They’re cheap, though, at only $12 for a 60-pack, and they provide pleasant ambient lighting and a nice citrus aroma.
One simple way to keep bugs away while staying cool in the summer heat is with a high-speed outdoor fan. This 20-inch floor fan from Lasko is just the ticket, putting out more than enough air to make it near impossible for small flying insects like mosquitoes to even get near you. It’s got three different powerful speeds and can also be easily mounted on a wall for optimal positioning to keep your porch or deck free of mosquitoes.
The 20-inch Lasko high-velocity fan can be yours for $58 from Amazon after a $20 discount.
Arguably the best way to deal with mosquitoes is to hit them right at the source: The places where they like to breed. Mosquito larvae grow in standing water, so if you’ve got areas around your home where these bugs might be hatching (such as bird baths, large puddles, or rain barrels), wipe them out before they become a problem with the Summit Mosquito Dunk pellets, the top-rated larvae killers on Amazon.
These use BTI, a compound that specifically targets mosquito larvae and is therefore non-toxic to other animals. You can grab a 20-pack of the Summit Mosquito Dunk pellets (the best value) for $22.
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