These Are The Bug Spray Ingredients That Actually Work

There are hundreds of products out there that claim to be effective at repelling mosquitoes and other biting insects. Unfortunately, many of these products aren’t helpful in that regard. Knowing which substances will actually do the job will save you time spent researching and money spent on ineffective products. Here are the best insect repellants:

Bug Sprays That Actually Work For Backyard Mosquito Contro

DEETwoman spraying bug spray on

If you’ve ever used bug spray before, you’re likely familiar with this ingredient. It’s arguably the most effective ingredient in bug repellant. According to one study, DEET provided the best protection for the longest period compared to other substances. DEET was first introduced for the military in the 1940s but later was made available for public use in 1957. For 80 years, this chemical has provided time-tested results. Now, there were some initial health concerns. Some people experience skin irritation, while – very rarely – it caused people to have seizures. A 1998 study by the EPA concluded that this is an extremely rare event – only 1 person in 100 million would experience a severe reaction. And as for the skin and eye irritation, like any substance, do not over-apply and if you do get it in your eye, flush it out with water. And, of course, you should not ingest DEET.

The more likely negative effects of DEET are the smell and the fact that it can damage plastic, rubber, and vinyl materials.

It’s human nature to think that more is better. However, when purchasing a bug spray, don’t bother with products with more than 30% DEET. It’s overkill, and it’s not worth your hard-earned money. 15 – 30% is sufficient. And in fact, higher concentrations run the risk of those skin irritations we’ve already discussed. So in short: 30% and up is overkill; under 15% is useless.


Also known as Icaridin, bug sprays with this ingredient have been proven to be as good as DEET. Picaridin is a synthetic material that’s actually close in structure to a compound in black pepper. It does not have an odor like DEET, and it is not known to irritate the skin. It hasn’t been around as long as DEET – Picaridin was first developed in the 1980s and only hit US shelves in 2005. When selecting a product, look for Picaridin levels between 10 and 20%. And while it does not irritate the skin, a study by the National Library of Medicine found that, like DEET, any accidental ingestion of insect repellant can cause eye and skin irritation. So when applying any bug spray, keep your eyes and mouth closed while the sprayer is going.

Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus lavender spray

If the idea of human-made substances gives you pause, fear not – there are natural mosquito repellants out there. Unfortunately, only one has any real scientific data to back up its claims: oil of lemon eucalyptus. When selecting a product at the store, the active compound should be labeled: p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD). Note: oil of lemon eucalyptus is NOT the same as lemon eucalyptus oil. So don’t think that same bottle of oil use put in your diffuser to scent your room will repel mosquitoes.

Alternatives To Bug Spray

It’s important to mention: bug spray is not a holistic approach to the problem. It will certainly keep you and your family safe in the short-term, but if you want long-lasting results, you should consider a residential mosquito control service. This does more than repel mosquitoes; it kills them outright. And it will eliminate mosquitoes at all stages of their life cycle.

Brief Note On The Mosquito Life Cycle

Mosquitoes are similar to frogs in that they begin their life in the water. Female mosquitoes need still, standing water so their eggs will go undisturbed. Once these eggs hatch, they will turn into the biting insects we all know and hate. You may be asking: so what? Why does this matter? The answer is that a professional mosquito treatment targets these areas where eggs may be hidden. Your technician has the training to seek out these places and the licensing to use more effective substances than bug spray. Think of it like this: when you’ve got a headache, you take something like ibuprofen or another over-the-counter medication. It takes your headache away for the time being. But if you have chronic headaches, you can’t perform tests on yourself to know what’s causing them. Only your doctor has the knowledge to do this. In the same way, hiring a mosquito control service will target mosquitoes at their source.

Get Professional Mosquito Fogging From Buzz Off Mosquito Solutions

If you’re tired of reaching for bug spray every time you step outside, the experts at Buzz Off Mosquito Solutions can help. We offer mosquito control services near Sturgeon Bay and other northern Wisconsin communities. Our work is backed by our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. We’ll eliminate mosquitoes and other hazardous bugs so you and your family can focus on enjoying the summer months in peace. To learn more about service offerings, call 715-281-3289 to speak to an expert. You can also leave us a message online.

If you liked this blog, you can read more articles on best practices for pest control on our blog page.

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