6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Top Insect Repellents

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Bug season is here, which means you’ll need a good insect repellent to protect you from bites. But not all repellents can get the job done. Here’s our 6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence Report with which bug sprays will let you enjoy the great outdoors, bug-free.

Insect repellent sprays, lotions, and wipes – CR has put them all to the test. Which meant having willing panelists stick their arms into cages filled with 200 disease-free mosquitoes after having a standard dose of repellent applied to their skin.

But of course, the insects that might bite you aren’t necessarily disease-free.

“With cases of mosquito- and tick-borne—diseases on the rise, it’s crucial to protect yourself," Consumer Reports Health Editor, Catherine Roberts

Take Lyme disease. The CDC estimated that 476,000 cases occurred each year between 2010 and 2018, up nearly 45% from the decade prior.

But not all repellents offer adequate protection.

“Our testing paints a pretty clear picture – no matter the brand or what kind of repellent you’re using – products made with 25 to 30 percent deet worked the best," Roberts said.

Two repellents CR recommends: 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8, and Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent Wilderness Formula Pump. Both excelled in protecting against mosquitos and ticks.

No matter which repellent you choose, to be effective it has to be applied properly. Follow the directions on the label, and use a thin coat on all exposed skin. You can also spray on top of your clothes, but don’t apply it under your clothing.

And don’t let children apply their own bug spray. Instead, spray it onto your hands, then rub it onto the child’s exposed skin and face.

If you prefer not to use deet, CR also recommends some repellents made with 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus.