Bug Off: 8 Best Repellents to Mosquito-Proof Your Backyard

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Bug bites? Don’t know them. This year, we’re saying goodbye to the nuisance of mosquitoes and hello to relaxing evenings spent outside in the comfort of our own backyards, without having to spray ourselves down or sport smelly plastic bracelets. 

Repel swarms from the cookout, wipe out those troublesome colonies lingering in your garden ponds, and help everyone who constantly forgets to reapply their bug spray breathe a collective sigh of relief as they enjoy the outdoors, free of irritation. From electric bug zappers to natural deterrents, here are some essentials you need to mosquito-proof your patio and lawn areas this summer. 

JCKEL Bug Zapper

JCKEL Bug Zapper / JCKEL / Amazon

This tabletop bug zapper isn’t quite like the popular Thermacell—it attracts mosquitoes in with the UV light ring on top and then sucks them in with a fan, trapping them inside a removable tray that’s easy to clean and reinsert. The fan is quiet and non-intrusive, so you can move it around to keep it close to you or set up several around your space. Thanks to a slipmat on the bottom, it holds securely to whatever surface you place it on, providing you with the bug prison you never knew to hope for. 

Buy it: Amazon

Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks in the woods.

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks / Murphy’s Naturals / Amazon

These incense sticks can create a perimeter as large as you need around your yard. Each one covers about 12 feet for two and a half hours, so light them up and plant them in pots full of sand to stage around the edge of your property. The plant-based oils will offer an unintrusive natural scent around the area and will help to keep those irritating bug bites to a minimum. 

Buy it: Amazon

Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits

Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits / Summit Responsible Solutions / Amazon

If you have standing water in your backyard that’s historically served as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, these little bits will wipe out the larvae within 24 hours. You can also use them in flower pots and saucers, gutters, and even rain barrels. To maintain your stronghold on the zone, add a mosquito dunk—a small, donut-shaped floater that slowly dissolves and releases a special bacterium that can eliminate mosquito larvae for 30 days or more—to the water a week later, or refresh the bits every other week. According to the brand, both these products are non-toxic to all other wildlife, pets, fish, and humans.

Buy them: Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits; Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Dunks

Andrea Portable Citronella Oil Diffuser with Refills

Andrea Portable Citronella Oil Diffuser with Refills / Andrea Products / Amazon

While some experts claim that citronella isn’t the go-to option for repelling bugs that you might think it is, it may still help keep some of them at bay. This citronella diffuser doubles as a mood light on your porch railing or table, and you can even bring it inside with you if the mosquitos tend to follow you home, as it’s safe to use indoors. It covers about 180 square feet with one unit or 300 square feet with two, and it can be charged up to use wirelessly, with each cartridge lasting up to 30 days depending on your use.  

Buy it: Amazon

Mosquito Guard Tealight Citronella Candles, Pack of 16

Mosquito Guard Tealight Citronella Candles, Pack of 16 / Mosquito Guard / Amazon

Citronella candles may not stop mosquitoes entirely, but they can still help the problem in some ways (especially if used in conjunction with a mesh tent or mosquito net). In lieu of a giant candle in the center of the table, set these tea lights around your deck railing or patio edge to create a soft-lit ambiance that doubles as a protective shield. Each tea light will burn up to an hour and, if appropriately spaced, will offer a barrier to ward off some of those pesky mosquitoes.

Buy it: Amazon

OFF! Backyard Mosquito Repellent Coil Refills

OFF! Backyard Mosquito Repellent Coil Refills / OFF! / Amazon

As an alternative to citronella candles, consider these coils. Each one burns like a stick of incense for approximately four hours and protects an area of up to 100 square feet—as long as the breeze is minimal. You can place it on any tray, or add a decorative coil holder for a pop of color and to keep little hands safe from grabbing the lit coil (or having it knocked to the ground as the night gets rowdy). 
Buy them: MyLifeUnit Mosquito Coil Holder; OFF! Backyard Mosquito Repellent Coil Refills

Mighty Mint 32-Ounce Yard Spray Bug Control

Mighty Mint 32-Ounce Yard Spray Bug Control / Mighty Mint / Amazon

This yard spray is all-natural and leaves behind a pepperminty scent, but more importantly, the brand claims it’s safe to use around pets. Just hook your garden hose up to it and you’ll be able to spray your whole yard in moments. That’s because one bottle covers up to 6000 square feet, works immediately, and lasts for several days, making quick work of the battle against bugs for control of your outdoor space.  

Buy it: Amazon

Skeeter Screen Patio Egg suspended by a pole in a yard.

Skeeter Screen Patio Egg / Skeeter Screen / Amazon

This essential oil and diffuser combination is another alternative to citronella, and according to the brand, will put a halt to bugs within a 200-square-foot area. Just pour the deterrent oil into the included patio diffuser, place it on your table, and relax. The Patio Egg will take it from there—at least, according to the more than 700 Amazon shoppers give this a 5-star rating.

Buy it: Amazon


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