Products to Keep Bugs at Bay

Products to Keep Bugs at Bay

This natural, essential oil-based repellent is a popular alternative to synthetic sprays. The smell of citronella, cedar, lemongrass, geranium, soybean and peppermint will help keep insects away, and the formula is also water and sweat resistant. Herbal Armor doesn't last as long as its DEET-based counterparts, losing efficacy after about two hours, but it’s safe for continual re-application. The formula comes as a lotion or spray.

This jacket is just one item in Columbia’s Insect Blocker series–a clothing line designed to provide head-to-ankle protection without messy lotions or synthetic sprays. You can choose between hats, shirts and pants that feature fabric woven tightly with repellent derived from the chrysanthemum plant. The repellent lasts up to 70 washes. 

This new formula from Off! is 25 percent DEET and dries on contact with the skin without leaving an oily or greasy residue. It’s offered in spray or lotion, lasts up to eight hours, and shields against mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats, ticks and chiggers.

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent comes in a spray or lotion and contains 34 percent DEET in a time-released formula that lasts up to eight hours. It's identical to the product used by the military, and stands up well to sweat, rain and humidity. 

This portable ventilation system releases the odorless repellent Allethrin—a substance derived from the Chrysanthemum flower. Offering 225 square feet of protection, the device is a handy addition to any excursion or outdoor party. ThermaCELL is registered with the EPA and used by the U.S. Military.

If you’re looking for a product that will protect you from bugs and the sun, Avon Skin So Soft Plus SPF is your answer. Avon’s formula uses IR3535, an EPA-registered repellent, in combination with SPF 30. There's one catch, however: Because you'll need to reapply sunscreen sooner than bug spray, you'll use more of this product than other repellents. 

The Dragonfly attracts mosquitoes through a mix of heat, CO2 and octenol—the same chemical cues that draw these insects to humans. The machine then captures the bugs in one of four capture ports. While the system is pricey, it’s a good investment for homeowners who want to host outdoor events throughout the summer season.

Coleman's 7-foot-tall mesh shelter is a great solution for picnics or camp outs  It has a telescoping frame for easy setup, two zip-up entry points and can comfortably fit multiple people.

This DEET-free solution, made with 20 percent piradin (an EPA-registered repellent), boasts 8-hour protection from mosquitoes. At 3.5 ounces, the Natrapel pump spray is much more portable than larger repellent cylinders on the market. 

This product kills mosquito larvae before they’re old enough to bite. Drop the Dunks into any stagnant pool of water near your home and they will release a bacterium that is lethal to the baby insects (but safe for other animals such as fish and turtles). The product lasts 30 days and treats 100 square feet of surface water. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still need to fend off the adults. 

If you prefer to avoid repellents or simply want another layer between you and the bugs, head nets are an affordable and effective alternative. This net is baggy enough to fit over most hats, and allows for full visibility. The fine mesh keeps out even the tiniest bugs.

Premethrin binds to most fabrics—including clothing, sleeping bags, tents and netting—and can be applied using an aerosol or pump spray, or the soak system. One coat lasts about six weeks or six washes. Use this product along with a bug spray for any  exposed skin for maximum protection.