Tried and Tested Mosquito and Tick Repellents: Consumer Reports has What You Need to Know

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Mosquito and tick issues here in Texas can not only be annoying, but potentially dangerous. The diseases they carry, such as Lyme disease and the West Nile virus, are issues that have been at the forefront of our bite protection modes and methods in recent years. Thankfully, Consumer Reports Product Testing (CRPT) has identified what repellents Texans might use to help.

According to Joan Muratore of CRPT, “Many of the better performing products contain Deet at levels of 15 to 30 percent. Research has shown that Deet is safe when used as directed, even for kids and pregnant women.” As part of the testing of repellent for mosquitoes, Consumer Reports applied the product in question to the forearms of each test subject. Then the subject is asked to put their arm into a cage filled with 200 disease-free mosquitoes. If there are two bites over the course of one exposure period, the product fails. Although CRPT didn’t test all of the repellents for the same outcomes on ticks, prior test results indicate that those which work well for mosquito bites have been known to also protect well against tick bites.

Tried and Tested Mosquito and Tick Repellents: Consumer Reports has What You Need to Know

Photo: Flickr/Fairfax County

In case you’re wondering which products worked well, the top two highest rated repellents (which also contain Deet) were Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent Eight Dry and Total Home CVS Woodland Scent Insect Repellent. Performing similarly well was a repellent of 30-percent Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, as well as a 20-percent picaridin repellent. Although research suggested that both were safe, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus should not be used on kids three years of age and under.

If you’re concerned about Deet and would prefer to go a natural route for your child’s bug repellent, one containing citronella or essential oils that you’ve further researched may be the option your adopt. When used as directed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (as well as Consumer Reports) has advised that the use of Deet at concentration levels of 30 percent or less is safe for use on children.