If you're planning a staycation, hopefully, full of sunshine (although, yes the plants in the garden really could do with some rain), then expect some unwanted visitors in your garden. Never fear - the best bug repellents are here!
With hot weather, you can expect insects and mozzies - especially in Britain, where the humid weather seems perfect for those little biters. If you're planning plenty of time in your garden, having a BBQ with your family or relaxing in your hot tub, chances are you'll be joined by a selection of over-familiar bugs.
If you're getting bitten alive by mosquitoes or fed up with thunder bugs, a good bug repellent will be your friend during the heat. Whether you want to slather yourself in bug-repellent cream or light a citronella candle during your BBQ, we've picked some of the best products you can buy.
Best bug repellents 2021
1. Avon Skin So Soft Dry Oil Body Spray with Jojoba (pack of 2)
This dry oil spray is full of citronella to protect from pests. Mozzies won't come anywhere near it, so no wonder it has such a high satisfaction rate. Not only does it give you softer, scented skin, but this repellent is also bug-proof. It's a win-win. It isn't an official repellent, but people swear by it. It can solidify in cold weather, but just place it in a warm room and it'll come back to liquid.
2. Incognito All Natural Deet Free Anti Mosquito Insect Repellent Spray (100Ml)
This is a favourite on the WhatsTheBest tester team, as we all seem a bit prone to mozzie bites. It's DEET free which is a plus from us - 100% natural and can last up to five hours. It is designed to protect you from a range of insects, including mosquitoes, midges, sandflies, horseflies, ticks and many more. As it is completely natural, it's suitable for vegans. This one smells pleasant and it's not greasy on your skin.
3. Xpel Mosquito & Insect Repellent Wipes
"These WORK!" says our mozzie-prone tester. Handy for travelling, simply wipe over skin for quick application. Make sure you seal the packet to prevent them from drying out, though, like any other wipes - maybe keep them inside a zip-lock bag to be on the safe side.
4. The Mosquito Company, Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
Different from your traditional bug repellent spray, these unisex bracelets come in a range of colours. Packed with citriodiol, these bracelets are trekker favourites, having travelled as far as the jungles in South America. Each bracelet gives you 250 hours of protection and the resealable bag means the unused ones will last for years.
5. Citronella Tea Lights (Set of 25)
Light a few of these citronella candles and those bugs will stay away from you, plus they smell good, too.
6. After Bite - Insect Bite Remedy - 14ml
If the repellents don't work, and you DO get bitten by a little bug, then whip this pen out and dab on to your bites. It can sting a little but soon brings some relief to the itching. Our tester - Sophie Knight, said, "I do tend to get bitten a lot, so always carry this with me - it's a handy size and it's really easy to apply discreetly. It does sting when you first apply it and it smells quite strong, but it brings relief quite quickly".
7. Jungle Formula Maximum Insect Repellent Spray 90ml
If you're happy to use a DEET product, then this one works and it's from one of the best-known brands in the market. It claims to offer up to nine hours of protection, but this is only suitable for anyone over the age of 18. It is endorsed by the Hospital of Tropical Diseases.
8. The Buzz Fly Catcher
If you don't fancy lathering yourself up in spray or bulk-buying bracelets, then this twin pack of fly traps is for you. The traps contain a strong insect attractant, to which you simply add water, then flies will be lured into the bottles and trapped. You can buy refill bait easily online, and no harmful toxins or poisons are used, so the whole process is natural. It claims to attract bugs from up to 10m away.
9. Incognito Anti-Mosquito Repellent Sticks
Incognito's Incense Sticks are highly effective and chemical-free. They have a fresh citrus aroma to refresh and enhance any room, with the added benefit that the light smoke helps to deter insects.
10. The Organic Pharmacy Insect Repellent Spray
This spray from The Organic Pharmacy helps to keep insects at bay using a natural blend of Neem, Rosemary, Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Lavender and Pyrethrum. The initial smell is quite strong when first applied, but it soon settles and insects seem to stay away from the herbal scent. Simply spritz on to your skin and gently rub in before heading outside to face the mosquitoes.
11. bite away - Electronic bite Relief Device
While this little gadget isn't a repellent per se, it's great to have on hand just in case someone in your party does get bitten. Instead of using chemicals or ointments, bite away uses heat technology to stop itching, pain and swelling caused by bites or stings. It's dermatologically tested and suitable for both adults and children. Place the device on the bite, wait for it to heat up (it is a little bit of a shock, but not unbearable) and enjoy itch-free skin and a faster healing time.
12. Bugs Away Gift Set
Well, isn't this gift set a treat? Not only is it an eco-friendly solution, but the natural aromatherapy candle and oil isn't an eyesore either. You'll be happy to have this sitting out in your garden ready to use.
What are the most common insect bites?
You can get bitten by a range of bugs and insects, and it can be hard to identify what's bitten you unless you saw the bug in action. These are the most common insect bites:
• Midges or gnats
• Bed bugs
Mosquitoes are often the most common bites in the summer, and cause red, itchy bumps on your skin. In other parts of the world, they can be dangerous as they spread diseases like malaria, but they don't cause major harm in the UK.
Spider bites are rare in the UK, although native species - such as the false widow spider - can give you a nasty bite.
Wasp, hornet, and bee stings can be really painful - and dangerous if you're allergic, as you can go into anaphylaxis, so always ring 999 if you have a severe reaction to a bite or sting. The NHS website has more information on what to do with bites and stings.
If you get bitten by a tick, you might not feel it; but you'll get a small red lump on the skin, swelling, itchiness, blistering and bruising. Ticks can also carry Lyme disease, which is potentially serious.
If you find a tick on your skin, remove it immediately, but do so carefully - rip them out and you can leave the mouthparts behind. It's best to use a tick remover - they're handy to have in your first aid box, especially if you go for lots of countryside walks.
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Sophie Knight is the Editor for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for Yours.co.uk, Mother&Baby across parenting and lifestyle.
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