Consumer Reports: Best insect repellents for 2019

Warm weather is here, but so are bugs like ticks and mosquitoes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cases of insect-borne diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus are going up, so Consumers Reports put 41 products to the test.

Pennsylvania has more lyme disease cases than any other state by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Tamara Tripp and her husband Demetri love to take hikes with their dog, Aria. And they make sure to use insect repellent.

"We are very cognizant of mostly ticks, less so mosquitoes but that certainly is an issue," says Tamara.

Consumer Reports tested repellents that contain DEET or other active chemical ingredients like Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

To see how effective each product is, they enlisted volunteers who were willing to stick their arms into cages filled with disease-free mosquitoes!

"Earlier years of testing have shown that if a repellent does well against mosquitoes it generally tends to do well against ticks as well," says Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

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Consumer Reports demonstrates how to properly apply bug spray.



So which repellents work best? Here's the good news. It's not about which brands performed better, but more about the concentration of the active ingredients.

"We found that concentrations of DEET at 25 to 30 percent are really the best to keep you protected," says Roberts.

Off Deep Woods Sportsmen Insect repellent IV Dry with 25 percent Deet was an excellent performer against mosquitoes. Or the Consumer Reports best buy - Ben's with 30 percent DEET.

If you prefer wipes, CR recommends Repel brand Insect repellent Mosquito Wipes with 30 percent DEET.

"So a lot of folks are worried that DEET might not be safe but really, there's a lot of evidence to show that when you follow the directions on the label and you use it properly DEET is very effective and it's also safe," Roberts notes.

Consumer Reports says natural ingredients like citronella, peppermint and soybean oil didn't do well in keeping pests away.

But it did find several DEET-free repellents were effective.

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Consumer Reports: Best DEET-free bug sprays

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