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Ticks, chigger mites, horseflies, black flies, mosquitoes, and yes, there are more, of course

By Skip Clement

According to New York Times’ Doug Mahoney, senior staff writer at Wirecutter, there’s a much better solution to dealing with mosquitoes et al., and it’s an ingredient, so read labels and steer clear of DEET.

Get a formulation made by Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20 percent picaridin. It’s the best bottle of bug spray we found after testing 19 repellents and talking to everyone—from the EPA to the American Mosquito Control Association.

Sawyer’s is a pump spray, which is preferable. Any aerosol will commit overspray – leave a puddle on your skin. In addition, Sawyer’s is a two-cap design that prevents accidental leaks inside a backpack or other bag. Sawyer’s repellent is also widely available in a variety of sizes. The smaller size is pocketable or backpackable—a larger size for the truck.

There are specific or targeted formulations as well, like for ticks and other critters

The best ‘naturals’ are oil of lemon eucalyptus, geranium, cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, grapefruit, citronella, garlic, thyme, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass. 

Note: There’s no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit the coronavirus—but the diseases that biting insects do carry ain’t no picnic either 

Looking to repel ‘bugs’ at a fixed campsite or your home patio

Doug Mahoney suggests a none slathering fix by picking up the Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller.

After spending 55 hours researching a category full of marketing hype and debunked methods (including popular options like citronella candles), we found that the E55 stands out by actually being effective. It’s rechargeable five-and-a-half-hour battery lasts long enough to odorlessly keep a bedroom-sized area mosquito-free for an entire evening—as long as there’s no breeze.


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