I have blood that mosquitoes adore. Just the other day I was sitting outside and somehow, unbeknownst to me, I had been an all-you-can-eat mosquito buffet and gotten a total of eight insect bites. Eight. None of my kids had any. My husband can be sitting outside with me and get nothing while I become a bumpy, itchy bitten mess. One time I was complaining about mosquito bites and he was thinking I was being dramatic until he saw that the whole left side of my face had swollen considerably. A Benadryl and I was good as new, but I learned that I am a mosquito magnet.
The mosquitoes we have in New Jersey are a different breed than I’ve dealt with before. They’re the Asian tiger mosquito, and they are not only scary looking with their stripes but they are super aggressive. They will just keep coming at you over and over and they aren’t afraid of the sun. They’ll strike any time of day. Punks. I’ve recently tested several mosquito repellents to find out if they will do the trick to keep me free of bug bites when I’m outside. Here’s what I think!
Giggle Insect Repellent
Who wouldn’t rather Giggle than spend their evening swatting mean mosquitoes away? I know I would. Giggle offers an insect repellent that is DEET-free, non-greasy and powered by insect-repelling geranium oil. Shake, spritz and keep mosquitoes, gnats, horseflies and other biters away. It’s non-toxic and safe for baby’s skin, so if you’ve got little ones who can’t defend themselves, this is a great way to prevent them from becoming a feast. There are also no parabens or phthalates, and no artificial colors or fragrances and no animal testing. Although geranuims are pretty to look at, the smell is a little more earthy than floral. Who cares if the smell keeps the bugs away, which it does.
If you’d rather not spray anything on you, there is the torch route you can go. I tried Thermacell’s Lexington Torch for outdoors and I loved it. It’s cute, doesn’t take up much room, and adds a nice little decoration to your outdoor table. It also comes with a pole, so if you’d rather stick it in the ground like a tiki torch, you can do that too. For $34.99, it offers a 15-foot by 15-foot area of bug-free protection, so plenty of area for a picnic or a back patio or front porch. Plus, it lights up for a fun little hint of ambiance to your evening. It does work really well, but you do have to consider that the butane lasts roughly 12 hours, and each repellent mat lasts just four. But as long as you’re in the windows of time, you can just set it and forget it!
Yep, just like you use the geranium oil spray to keep bugs away, the plant works too. In fact, Scotts Miracle-Gro’s new ‘smart garden’ app, Gro will help you fine-tune your garden to keep biters away naturally. Gro recommends scented Geranium, French Marigolds and Ageratum to ward of the bugs. Plus, you’ll have a pretty garden, too!
Babytime Mighty Shield
The other day the kids left the screen door open to the backyard while I was still inside. Before I knew it, I had seven bites on my legs and had become a feast to the single mosquito that had gotten inside the house. Before I joined my kids outside, I put on some Babytime Mighty Shield lotion ($12.50 for 3.4 ounces) knowing it would be a true test as my skin was especially tasty that day. I had to swat one mosquito away, but once she was gone, I didn’t get any additional bites. This one is a pump dispensed lotion, so if you go to spray it like I did, you will quickly learn that lotion doesn’t spray. It goes on smoothly though and is suitable for all ages. It has an interesting smell — the combination of lemongrass, rosemary and cedar oils — but it fades pretty quickly and isn’t offensive, just different. And it definitely worked for me!
Check out Jenn’s recent review of Bugband products, too. Mosquitoes will be going strong for awhile yet! —Erin