Repellents are substances that help people avoid mosquito bites. Anyone working or playing in mosquito-infested areas will find repellents very helpful. Repellents are formulated for use on bare skin. They are sold as aerosols, creams, solids (sticks),pump sprays and liquids. Use repellents containing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate, diethyl carbate; N, N-Diethyl-3-Methylbenzamide (DEET), metofluthrin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus, picaridin and ethyl hexanediol. For more than 50 years, DEET has been the gold standard in mosquito repellents. Check the label for these active ingredients. Repellents do not kill mosquitoes and other insects, but they will help deter them from biting people.

Permethrin-containing products (Permanone) are recommended for use only on clothing, shoes, bednets and camping gear—never on skin. Permethrin does kill mosquitoes and ticks and is highly effective. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and other arthropods. It remains effective even after repeated laundering. Permethrin-treated clothing should be safe when label directions are followed. Permethrin products should never be applied to the skin. It is often helpful to use spray repellents on outer clothing as well as the skin. Protection times vary. Repellents such as DEET that are used on the skin will be effective for anywhere from 90 minutes to 10 hours, depending on the amount of active ingredient in the product and skin condition. Permethrin products sprayed on clothing generally may be expected up to 6 hours following application.

Oil of citronella is the active ingredient in many of the candles, torches, or coils that can be burned to produce a vapor or smoke that repels mosquitoes. These are only useful outdoors when the wind isn’t blowing. These products are less effective than repellents applied to the body or permethrin applied to clothing.

Additional Mosquito Repellent Information

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