Found a good bug spray

Last year I tried a then-new Cutter’s bug spray that does not damage synthetic clothing or plastics (such as sunglasses). It worked well against mosquitoes but I didn’t know about flies. Well, recently, a neighbor did their annual dumping of horse manure along the edge of a road. The fly quotient skyrocketed on our dog walks. I put the spray on and the flies left me alone.

It is available in at least 3 different formats (spray, liquid, and something else I can’t remember) but the active ingredient content by % varies. Read the fine print to know what you are getting.

For mosquitoes (and supposedly deer flies), Repel Lemon Eucalyptus cream works well. Available from REI. Does not harm synthetics, either.

I hate bugs.

Thank You
I recently did an overnighter at the outer banks of NC. I got talked into buying the little $9 tube of cream that was supposed to be hot stuff repellant. It worked fine. My buddy brought some Cutter’s. It worked fine. It was 2 cans for $4 at the dollar store. Live and learn.

Repel is the only certified-organic stuf
Where did I read that??? Might have been in Wild Oats’ free magazine.

I do know it works against mosquitoes and smells better than anything else.

But Cutter’s is available from more stores. The type I was describing above has some hokey name like “Adventure Outdoor”.

It contains…
15% Picaridin instead of DEET. I use it too.

Works on mosquitos and biting flies.

I just looked at the ingredients in my $9 tube. It says 34.4% DEET.

Repel rated #1 by Backpacker Mag
In extensive tests Repel was nearly as effective as DEET, and it smells much better and doesn’t harm you or your children or pets. I wonder when DEET will be banned? I’ve seen people put in on their clothes and their clothes started disintegrating, especially neoprene and synthetic paddling clothes. If it can melt them then it must have some detrimental effect on skin, eyes, mouth, don’t you think?

its a trade off, Deet stuff that actually works pretty good, or the “Other” stuff that smells good but doesn’t work as good. I am a "trail coordinator’ so I am out side building, planning and creating hiking trails all the time. The deet stuff is the only stuff that works halfway decent against mosquitoes, when they are so thick you can’t take deep breaths for fear of inhaling them. As for biting fly’s, I haven’t found anything that works yet beside smashing them, and thick clothing. However the pyrthrin spry you put on clothing seems to work pretty good… Yeah DEET is pretty potent stuff, it makes me feel funny when I put it on, I get all “tingly” so that’s probably not a good thing, however it beats getting 1000nds of mosquito bites.

Does anyone know where I can find an organic repellent called “Wup-A-Bug”? We went to an open house at the “Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp” and that is what they had for us to use…it worked great on those pesky springtime bugs.

DEET safe
I recently went through an anti-DEET phase and investigated alternative bug dopes. I eventually settled on a citronella spray and used it on a day hike in northern BC with friends. At trailhead, we realized that the person who usually carries bug dope had forgotten hers, so I pulled out my citronella and we all dosed up. It worked okay (sort of) as long as we applied it every 15 minutes or so, which meant that we were basically showering in the stuff all day long. My friends are all present or former forestry workers, so they know bugs and sprays. Their verdict: DEET is best.

Pondering this field experience, I started looking around on the web and found that Health Canada did a 2004 review of all insect repellants on the market in Canada and found no health risk to using DEET as long as general guidelines are followed. In contrast, they could not recommend citronella products because there wasn’t a sufficient body of data about its safety.

I’ve gone back to a combination of long clothing and DEET on problems areas (neck, etc.).

I can vouch for both the picaridin and the oil of lemon eucalyptus repellents as being effective. The oil of lemon eucalyptus I found effective against skeeters and black flies in northern MI. I tried DEET in the same environment and its effects (even the 100% stuff) wore off pretty quickly. The oil of lemon eucalyptus was effective for FAR longer.

Citronella was worthless, but is marginally effective in the tiki torches in my backyard. Eating garlic cloves just made me sick to my stomach.

Picaridin came out a couple years after that, and I have found it effective against mosquitoes and deer flies. I haven’t tried it against any significant black fly populations, but it was effective against the small population I encountered on the middle yough a few weeks ago.

I don’t like DEET because it’s so harmful to synthetic materials. So many of my clothes are synthetic, and so is a lot of my outdoor equipment. DEET just makes it all fall apart over time. No thanks.

I also treat my clothing with permethrin. Permethrin really isn’t much of a repellent, but it IS a very good contact insecticide. I don’t find it especially effective against anything with wings, but I don’t have any issues with ticks when my clothing is adequately treated with the stuff. That is enough reason for me to use it.

backpacker mag
Last month, Backpacker magazine did a report and testing on effectiveness of about 30 different bug sprays. When I go home, I’ll post the results of their top 5 for longest duration before a bug bite.

I’ve tried them all
I hate the smell of deet and hate what it does to wrist watches, but found for Texas Coast mosquitos, it is the only thing that works. Citronella actually seems to attract some gnats, oil of lemon eucalyptus doesn’t do much good, and repel works, but not as well as deet.

I’ve used Repel for years. Works for
me. I try to reduce my skin area with light weight clothing and spray it on my clothing. I use it on my skin lightly and only if I really need to.

I really really hate bugs too. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll give it a try.


– Last Updated: Jul-20-07 11:39 PM EST –

when applied correctly, per directions is the most effective and least obnoxious method I have found.

Most people think that they must apply DEET as they had previously applied older preventative techniques such as "Off", By dousing every square inch of exposed skin with a substance that "repels" bugs.

DEET (as it has been explained to me) does not repel mosquitoes, as much as confuse them, and thusly it is not necessary to slather oneself with copious amounts of 100% DEET in order to repel mosquitos.
It has been my own personal observation in some very thick concentrations of skeeters,that it was only necessary for me to spread a very thin application of DEET on my skin in order to thwart the interests of mosquitos on me

The best repellent for me is an
attractant. What works well is a pale person with veins near the surface who forgets to bring bug repellent.

I was talking about the Cutter Adventure
Outdoor product. 15% Picaridin. No DEET in it.

Cutter’s Advanced Outdoor spray
Sorry for the name confusion. It has picaridin as the active ingredient, and it has not harmed the myriad of synthetic fabrics I use for outdoor activities.

I’m going to buy another can of it because it works great.