Insects are there for a reason—these clever products repel them instead of exterminating.

By Jenny Krane
Updated March 14, 2019

Although they bother you, insects like mosquitos and flies are an important part of your backyard ecosystem. Many sprays that contain chemicals are designed to exterminate, rather than repel, pests—and they can be dangerous to children, pets, and soil nutrients. The next time you gear up for a camping trip (or want to enjoy dinner on the patio without being eaten alive), consider one of these natural insect repellents instead. You’ll be surprised just how many products are on the market!

Image courtesy of Amazon.

First Saturday Lime

Once a month, sprinkle this hydrated lime mixture around the base of your home to deter pests and boost soil fertility (increased soil PH leads to sweeter fruit and even turns hydrangeas pink!). It’s a popular product with pet owners, too. “I also use it on my lawn to keep pests down and keep the grass from turning yellow where my dog goes potty!” one reviewer said. You can use this powder as a limewash to add a worn pattern to paint, too.

Buy It: First Saturday Lime 20-lb Bag, $30

Picaridin Insect Repellent

This topical spray keeps mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and biting flies at bay for up to eight hours. Its main ingredient is eco-friendly Picaridin, and it doesn’t have the strong bug spray smell associated with most DEET (chemical) products. It’s safe for children to use, too. Sawyer’s spray and lotion formulas also come in travel-friendly sizes.

Buy It: Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent, $7

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Clean Burn BiteFighter Torch Fuel

You may know Tiki for its tropical-looking backyard torches, but the real magic is inside. The citronella-based fuel keeps mosquitoes away from your outdoor living spaces and ensures torches stay lit for hours. The Clean Burn fuel eliminates the black, wispy smoke that comes from the traditional fuel when burned. Romantic firelight without smoke blowing in your face? Sign us up.

Buy It: Tiki Brand Clean Burn Torch Fuel 32 Ounce Bottle, $11

Mosquito GoClip

Nothing ruins an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood quite like getting bitten up by mosquitos. This plastic clip-on accessory is infused with essential oils that repel insects like mosquitoes, flies, and ticks. The GoClip is made of natural ingredients, is DEET-free, and is a convenient option for those with sensitivities to topical repellents. Each clip comes with a resealable pouch so it can be used again and again.

Buy It: RESCUE! GoClip Mosquito Wearable Repellent, $4

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

These colorful plastic bracelets are Amazon’s best-selling pest control accessory, and they have hundreds of positive reviews to prove it. The coiled, one-size-fits-all band is made of non-toxic natural oils that are effective for up to 250 hours. Active ingredients include lemongrass and citronella (no DEET), and they're waterproof—so your kids can wear them all day during summer camp.

Buy It: Cliganic 10 Pack Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, $8


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