Bug Spray Hacks: How to Avoid the Summer Bite

Avoid pests this summer with these handy tips.

ByABC News
June 24, 2016, 10:39 AM

— -- Mosquitoes and other biting insects may be an unfortunate part of summer, but you don't have to suffer. We've got a few tips for avoiding those nasty bug bites.

More Is Not Better

Extra coats of bug spray do not offer added protection. One coat of bug spray to exposed skin is enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says DEET offers the best protection against mosquito bites but notes that the chemical may cause skin rashes, including blisters and skin and mucous membrane irritation, if applied in high amounts.

If you want to avoid products that contain DEET, there are natural alternatives such as lemon eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, neem oil and citronella.

The Best Ingredients to Fight Off Bugs

Be sure to look for proven ingredients like DEET, picaridin and IR3535 to give long-lasting protection. Apply repellants only to exposed skin and avoid spraying the repellant over cuts, wounds or irritated skin, the CDC advises.

Look for an EPA Label

If you're unsure of which product is the right one for you, go to the EPA's Insect Repellant Search Tool. You can plug in which bug you're trying to avoid and the duration you're going to be outside. The EPA regulation number on the back of each bottle confirms that the product has been proven safe and effective by the EPA.

Don't Spray Your Face

To protect your face, spray bug spray on the palm of your hand before applying the product to your face. The CDC says bug sprays can be used with sunscreen, though it's best to apply the sunscreen first.