Three in 10 Americans are worried about the threat of Zika or West Nile viruses from mosquito bites. Yet only one in 10 takes serious precautions, like using insect repellent frequently (2-3 times per week or more). One in four surveyed don’t use insect repellent at all, while just 22 percent use it occasionally. So figured now was a good time to update our list of the best mosquito repellant sprays and mosquito repellent lotions and even a mosquito repellent bracelet. Heck, there are even some cool electronic devices to combat mosquitos so you can enjoy spending time outdoors without worrying about getting bitten by mosquitos.
Best Mosquito Repellents
Formulated with 30% DEET for when you need serious insect repellent, Ben’s does not mess around. This is the best mosquito repellent spray on the market. In the deep areas of the backcountry where the woods can be home to insects including ticks and mosquitos that could carry Lyme disease or West Nile virus, Ben’s Insect Repellant offers real protection. Get what you need out of the wilderness formula with this specialized water-based blend designed to repel dangerous insects that could harm your health. Protects you for up to 6 hours after application from mosquitoes, ticks, flies, chiggers, fleas, and no-see-ums. [Purchase: $3.75 at REI.com]
Thermacell’s mosquito repellent machine is unlike any other weighing it at a mere 7 ounces. Small but powerful, the odorless DEET-free ingredient called Metofluthrin, the Radius Zone works to protect you from flying pests and other harmful insects even during the worst summer months. The 110-square foot protection zone of this portable mosquito fighter makes it ideal for use with other bug repellants including candles and topical spray as a way to reduce irritating, and harmful bug bites. Hands down the best mosquito repellent for yard work and hanging on your porch. Take the Radius Zone along with you for 12 hours of powerful protection every time. If you are planning a camping trip, entertaining outdoors often or want to surprise someone you love with a super-cool gift – get a Radius Zone. [Purchase: $49.95 at REI.com]
This DEET free formula is also available in a convenient pump bottle for permanent spaces like outdoor sheds or your bathroom. Use it to repel mosquitos and ticks for up to 14 hours after each application. Designed to protect you from every type of harmful insect, Sawyer Picaridin also protects against biting flies and chiggers, gnats, fleas and no-see-ums for up to 8 hours. Sawyer makes one of the best mosquito repellent creams available. The low-odor formula smoothes onto your skin without leaving a greasy residue behind that could harm your gear or equipment when touched. [Purchase: $8.95 at REI.com]
Formulated with 25% Picaridin for reliable insect protection, this line of effective sprays and lotions is available in all shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Many people believe that DEET-based insect bug repellants can be toxic however, some people scoff at this risk of disease. Proven offers a highly-effective non-toxic insect repellent formula derived from the black pepper plant. Known as Picaridin, this ingredient is recommended by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), CDC (Center for Disease Control) and even the WHO (World Health Organization) as a safe way to repel insects – even for babies and pregnant women. You know you can count on the power of Proven to deter pests and repel flying insects! [Purchase:$12.99 at Amazon.com]
Stash this EarthKind Stay Away Mosquitos spray when you travel for a fast-acting way to blast bugs. Reduce itchy, and potentially dangerous bites and stings with this ultra-potent formula. Designed to be potent yet gentle enough for all skin types, EarthKind Stay Away Mosquitos bug spray offers instant protection from biting flies, gnats, and chiggers for up to 8 hours. Also offers insect protection from mosquitoes and ticks for up to 14 hours after application. This naturally effective bug spray is made with the active ingredient Picaridin so it can be used safely with young adults and children.
Aside from being annoying, mosquitoes found in North America are for the most part harmless. Now if you like to travel to tropical destinations you may want to pay extra attention to this article as Malaria, Cerebral Malaria, and the Zika Virus.
For those of you not comfortable changing up your diet while on vacation I present to you the PARA´KITO Mosquito Repellent Bracelet “Jungle Band”. What makes PARA´KITO products unique is they offer up a natural mosquito repellent that doesn’t actually go on your skin. The beauty of the Jungle Band is the ease of use. Simply put a DEET Free mosquito repellent pouch (full of natural oils) inside the PARA´KITO Jungle Band, snap the Velcro closed and your off. The one I tested actually came in a camouflaged colorway which was sweet. Looks aside this product does work wonders and last for up to 15 days on a single pouch which is about half the size of your thumb. For anyone spending long periods of time outdoors in mosquito country, a mosquito repellent bracelet is a product you’ll want to invest in. [Purchase: $19.99 at Amazon.com]
Do you frequently recreate outdoors after work, around sunset or in areas where mosquitoes frequent? If so, a can of BullFrog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen & Insect replant is a must-have. Toss a can of spray in your truck, in your backpack or wherever you can stash it. What’s great about this mosquito repellent is the fact it has SPF 30 sunscreen built into the spray.
BullFrog is known for making sunscreen, and now thanks to the brands 2-in-1 sun and insect protection they can add mosquito repellent to their list of products sold. The spray can is easy to use, quick efficient and especially good at spraying those hard to reach places on your back, legs, and arms. [Purchase: $14.55 at Amazon.com]
Another one of my favorite ways to stay bite-free from mosquitoes comes from the Deter brand. Now this has to be a play on words as the company does not use DEET in their natural mosquito repellent, instead, Deter is packed full of ingredients like Coconut Oil, Soybean Oil, Spearmint Oil and more natural goodies from the earth. One of the great things about this spray is a little goes a LONG way and the 2 oz bottle is TSA compliant so you can rest assured when you get down south that a spray or two will keep the mosquitoes away for up to 6 hours. Along with keeping mosquitos at bay, Deter works great for repelling horse flies, ticks, gnats, and even fleas. One 2 oz bottle can easily last for months if not years in the tropics. [Purchase: $16.68]
Made for babies, kids, expectant moms, and elders to avoid chemical products, US Outdoors Anti Bug Spray is the sort of stuff you can spray around you and your family with zero guilt. 100% organic made of the following Soybean Oil*, Castor Oil*, Lemongrass Oil*, Citronella Oil*, Cedar Oil*, Rosemary Oil*, Peppermint Oil*, Geranium Oil*, Lavender Oil*, Deionized Water *=Certified Organic Ingredient.
Can a natural mosquito spray hold those pesky buggers off? You bet, and it smells amazing too thanks to the organic ingredients listed above. Because this sunscreen is natural and oil-based, be sure to reapply if you’re sweating or if you decide to go for a swim as this stuff washed off your skin quickly. [Purchase: $10.99]
With the tips above and some common sense, you can limit your exposure to mosquito-related diseases on your next surf trip! What about mosquitos inside your home?
You may think that air conditioners are all created equal but they are NOT. In fact, you could be shocked to find out that this 1540CFM weatherproof evaporative air cooler could improve air quality over 850 sq feet of space – all with a remote control. The ultra-compact design (27.56” x 18.35” x 40.04”) makes it easy to cool down. The triple sided cooler also features a durable base and weather-resistant outer to protect itself from inclement weather. Use the top-loading ice compartment to really drop the temperature with the outgoing airflow. Other features include 16” blades, hose hookup option, oscillating louvers, hands-free control, gliding casters, 3-speed settings. Using a cooler like this is said to help create conditions ideal for pest control. The cooling benefits offer insect repellant effects, deterring bugs and flying pests. Use it outdoors or as one of the best mosquito repellents for indoors. [Purchase: $299 at Amazon.com]
Natural Mosquito Repellant
Let’s start with some natural ways to avoid mosquito bites; are you someone that likes to drink soda or eat sugary foods? If so stop now before you head to the tropics as for some reason mosquitoes are drawn to people with lots of sugar in their blood.
Did you also know mosquito’s apparently don’t like to suck on spicy blood, so start getting used to adding lots and lots of hot sauce to your meals as a natural and delicious way to say goodbye to those mosquitos, or “mozis” as they’re known in the south pacific.
Side Effects of Malaria Drugs
One thing I would avoid at all cost, (odds are the CDC will disagree) is the use of anti Malaria drugs. Sure this sounds good on paper, get a prescription before you leave and then pop some pills to keep mosquitoes from giving you a life-threatening disease. However what if said pills had the chance of messing with your brain? I personally know of a friend that went to Bali on a surf trip, was told to take Mefloquine (which is not recommended for people with certain psychiatric conditions), whoops. Turns out my friend lost his mind so to speak and was found walking around the streets of Denpasar, Bali naked in the middle of the night with no clue as to what was happening and or why..
Another report recently came out in the Military Times titled Malaria drug causes brain damage that mimics PTSD: case study and specifically mentions “At the peak of mefloquine’s use in 2003, nearly 50,000 prescriptions were written by military doctors. That figure dropped to 216 prescriptions in 2015, according to data provided by the Defense Department. According to DoD policy, mefloquine is prescribed only to personnel who can’t tolerate other preventives.”
Warning on Doxycycline; “Persons planning on considerable sun exposure may want to avoid the increased risk of sun sensitivity” I was going to Bali to surf, and surf some more. So taking an anti-malaria drug that had the potential to increase your risk of skin cancer and sun exposure, may not be something you’re willing to risk.
Check out our Bali Surf Guide: For First Time Visitors
At the end of the day, always be mindful when spending time outdoors around sunset – dusk hours as that’s when mosquito really seems to be active. Another tip is to bring along a pair of lightweight pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If you must sit out and watch the sunset while being swarmed by mozi’s why not do so comfortably.
Mosquito nets also work wonders, however, spending a few extra bucks on a room with AC is a great bet as it’s really tough for a mosquito to fly around in a room with the air conditioner blowing out cool air.
All this being said, you really need to make a decision as to just how much exposure you want to put yourself into when visiting countries with crazy mosquito-related diseases. Is it worth the risk of contracting cerebral malaria-like my friend Travis Potter did while surfing in Papua New Guinea?