Modern life has its comforts: air conditioning, pizza delivery at one in the morning, Facetime. However, venturing outside at dusk in certain areas still runs the risk of getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Some people seem to be more susceptible to bug bites than others (hi). If you’re one of them (or love somebody who is) here are the best, tried-and-true bug repellents.
My dad has an enormous backyard in suburbia—he likes to throw barbeques and pool parties, and to show off his grilling skills. At every single party, he’ll slyly ask if anyone has been bitten by a mosquito, to which every single guest will reply no. His secret: garlic concentrate, which he sprays around the backyard every few weeks. It works surprisingly well.
DEET has a bad rap, but it’s safe, especially if the alternative is risking Lyme disease, malaria, Zika, or West Nile virus. If you’re spending time in a particularly buggy area, you will not regret this purchase.
If you’re really against using DEET, you could try this essential oil blend, which I’ve used to fight off bugs in the past. It smells like sweet lemons and is made of six different therapeutic grade essential oils: citronella, rosemary, sweet lavandin, eucalyptus, peppermint, and catnip. Dab it on your temples, wrists and ankles—you can also add drops into water in a bottle for a quick spray.
I discovered these anti-bug stickers while traveling in Asia. They’re cute, all-natural, and effective for at least 12 hours. These stickers helped keep away all the bugs, even when I was hiking around very humid, lush parts of the world.
Four master tools for your bug repellent arsenal