6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, DIY Insect Repellents and Other Bug Products to Avoid

(ABC 6 News) – With a quick internet search, you can find easy DIY homemade insect repellent concoctions.

And while the idea of using a repellent with more natural ingredients might sound appealing, Consumer Reports has a warning: The risks are just not worth it.

“Mosquitoes and ticks spread dangerous diseases like West Nile and Lyme – so it’s super important you use an insect repellent that actually works,” say Consumer Reports’ Catherine Roberts.

Roberts is a science journalist with Consumer Reports.

“Homemade repellents haven’t been tested for efficacy or safety. So there’s no guarantee that they’ll work. And ingredients like essential oils can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions,” says Roberts.

For years, Consumer Reports has tested many varieties of insect repellents, including many with natural ingredients. Each time the results are similar: the most effective repellents include those that contain 25 to 30 percent Deet.

“Our tests also found that some non-Deet repellents, like those that contain 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus or 20 percent picaridin, worked too – though not as consistently as Deet,” says Roberts.

Two repellents CR recommends – 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8 and Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent Wilderness Formula Pump. Both provide excellent protection based on CR’s rigorous tests.

And how about repellent alternatives that you don’t put on your skin that claim to keep the bugs away?

Roberts says, “When it comes to citronella candles, wristbands and sonic repellents-there’s just very little evidence that shows that any of these really work.”

Some proven tips to help keep mosquitoes and ticks at bay is to keep your yard free of containers filled with water, and keep your lawn mowed and free of leaves and other debris.

Another simple solution: use an oscillating fan that creates air movement to cool you and keep bugs away.