Nothing ruins a perfect day outdoors faster than a swarm of blood-sucking mosquitoes. Those pesky little buggers love feasting on humans, leaving behind those signature itchy welts on our skin. It’s important to protect yourself from the diseases that mosquitos can spread and the uncomfortable itch they leave behind. That means making sure to have one of the best mosquito repellent products handy.
A new species of these biting bugs has recently been found. In fact, researchers in Florida have discovered a new invasive mosquito species. The scientific name? Culex lactator. It was first discovered in Miami-Dade County in 2018, by the University of Florida while hunting down other invasive mosquitoes. In 2022, they were discovered in Collier and Lee counties, too. There are at least 90 mosquito species living in the sunshine state, as mosquitoes thrive in warm, humid climates.
Mosquitoes are also evolving to the point that they can even smell human prey. Researchers note that receptors in mosquitoes’ antennae can detect scents on humans. However, even when scientists remove those antennae, they can still find us! The study’s findings are from Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The neurons used to find humans are stimulated not just by the human smell, but by another chemical in mosquitoes called amines. Having more than one stimulant means that if one is destroyed the other can kick in to help find their target.
Ready to stop these nuisance insects in their tracks? With so many choices, we’ve zeroed in on the top products for you. That way you can enjoy some nature and backyard fun, mosquito-free. Here’s our list of the five best mosquito repellents, from ten expert websites, to find the most effective ways to keep them away. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Mosquito Repellent, According to Expert Reviews
This repellent comes in both lotion and spray forms. Reviewers say it works wonders. Outdoor Life notes, “Sawyer Mosquito Repellent Lotion lasts much longer than sprays and won’t leave a greasy residue on your skin.”
As for the spray, MosquitoReviews calls it, “fantastic and very effective. As a DEET-free alternative, it not only smells better than most heavily concentrated DEET sprays, but it is just as effective during our testing.” You can find the 3-ounce spray and the 4-ounce lotion for around $10 each. However, reviewers point out it isn’t easy to apply this to your whole body.
If you plan on spending time hiking through the woods, this is a solid option. You can find a 6-ounce spray can for around $7. According to The Charlotte Observer this, “aerosol insect repellent with 25% DEET is one of the most effective mosquito repellents on the market. As the name suggests, this powder dry mosquito repellent is ideal for adventuring deep into the woods. It feels dry on the skin and doesn’t leave the skin greasy like most mosquito repellents.”
“This OFF! bug spray smells good (relatively, for bug spray), but bear in mind it will leave a slight white residue when sprayed on your clothes (however, that washes out just fine). What’s more, DEET is destructive to synthetic fibers so avoid spraying on anything other than a natural fiber, like cotton,” adds Business Insider.
GearJunkie points out that sweating does reduce its effectiveness, but “this has been my longtime choice for both hiking and camping, and it’s proven to be generally effective. Before hitting the trail, I generally apply a dose to my ankles in order to keep ticks from hitching a ride. In this way, I’ve managed to stay tick-free all summer.”
If you are looking for a solution that doesn’t involve bug spray, check out this heat-activated offering from Thermacell. It keeps mosquitoes away from small outdoor areas like a patio or porch. “Don’t be fooled by the sleek design — this fragrance-free burner delivers a serious punch. Using a discreet fuel cartridge, it provides your outdoor space with up to 15 feet of protection for up to 12 hours of use,” according to Today.
“There’s no smoke, flames, citronella, DEET, mess or any on-skin chemicals,” points out HGTV. This Old House adds it, “uses naturally occurring repellents from plants instead of DEET and doesn’t require skin contact, making it safer for you and the environment.”
“This cordless and odorless device is perfect for those who want to have intimate dinners on the deck or other small-scale outdoor parties and enjoy a scent-free mosquito-free evening,” notes National Today. Plus, it comes in several colors to match your decor. The price? $17.99.
If you want a natural mosquito repellent, this one is worth trying. You can find the four-ounce bottle for about $5. “The active ingredient of Cutter comes from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree and is a safe alternative for those wanting to avoid DEET or other insecticides. With a 30% concentration, it is effective against mosquitoes for about six hours before reapplication may be necessary. It isn’t greasy or sticky and has a pleasant scent,” according to Field & Stream.
“Cutter’s Lemon Eucalyptus insect repellent has a proven track record at keeping Zika-infested mosquitoes away. In addition, the spray is easy to apply and not greasy at all — it is absorbed quickly into the skin with no discomfort,” adds MosquitoReviews. One drawback? Don’t put it near your eyes, as it can cause major irritation.
Maybe you are looking to go heavy on the DEET. If so, you can snag a four-ounce bottle of Repel 100 for about $7.50. “It’s a small bottle that uses a pump applicator to spray a 98 percent DEET formula. Just a few squirts onto your exposed skin will keep biting insects away for hours,” according to Outdoor Life.
This spray offers 10-hour protection. However, reviewers did note it has a strong odor, and isn’t the best choice for full body coverage. “It smells very strongly and each spray will cause a bit of it to linger in the air, and it does not taste good. Applying too much can cause the skin to get irritated very quickly and it is far easier to apply too much of this solution,” notes MosquitoReviews.
Honorable Mention: Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Dunks
If you are looking to kill mosquitoes at the source, grab a six-pack of these dunks for around $10.
“This mosquito repellent comes in the form of small, circular tabs that are dropped into standing water to kill mosquito larvae. The tabs come in a pack of six to cover larger pools, ponds, and other bodies of water. They’re non-toxic to pets, humans, and wildlife, and they kill mosquitoes within hours,” suggests This Old House.
You might also be interested in:
- Outdoor Life
- The Charlotte Observer
- Business Insider
- This Old House
- National Today
- Field & Stream
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.