Choosing an Insect Repellent

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Worried about mosquitoes? Don't want to be eaten alive? Got sensitive skin? Concerned about the environment? Need repellent for children? Confused by coils? We've got a wide range of the best natural and synthetic insect repellents. We tell you about the different types of DEET and natural insect repellent and what makes the best repellents work. We also tell you which mosquito repellent products to avoid and why.

Insect Repellents - The main active ingredients

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DEET Insect Repellents

DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a very effective insect repellent developed in 1946. DEET still forms the active part in most insect repellents and as such is the most used insect repellent chemical worldwide.

Advantages: proven effectiveness at preventing bites, can remain effective for several hours. The use of micro-encapsulation technology has resulted in some almost odourless repellents.

Disadvantages: oily feel, causes irritation to eyes, lips and other sensitive areas; is absorbed by skin: can cause skin reaction with some users; damages several common plastics and fabrics; less effective in low concentrations, increased reaction risk in high concentrations; strong 'chemical' smell.

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Mosquito Milk

Type: Roll-on

Active Ingredient: DEET (20%) plus plant extracts

Special Features:
Easy to apply and pleasant to use. Non sticky. Much liked by loyal user base.

Suitability:
For children (3yrs+) and adults.

lifesystems-endurance-spray

Endurance Spray

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (20%)

Special Features:
Apply and forget - micro-encapsulation means long lasting, slow release for up to 12 hrs. Easy to use spray application.

Suitability:
Very long lasting - all day protection.

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Endurance Cream

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Type: Cream Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (34.34%)

Special Features:
Micro-encapsulation means long lasting, slow release for up to 12 hrs.

Suitability:
Handy size, low odour, lasts well, for children (6mts+).

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Ultrathon Cream

Type: Cream Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (34.34%)

Special Features:
Micro-encapsulation means long lasting, slow release over a long period.

Suitability:
Handy size, low odour, lasts well.

expedition-50-insect-repellent-spray

Expedition 100 Plus

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (95%)

Special Features:
Dual action formula of DEET plus natural oils for stopping the insects that land from biting. Protects for 10+ hours.

Suitability:
Maximum strength for tropics & Jungle

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Expedition 50 Plus

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Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (50%)

Special Features:
Dual action formula of DEET plus natural oils for stopping the insects that land from biting. Protects for up to 10 hours.

Suitability:
General purpose, strong stuff for tropics & Jungle

care-plus-deet-40-8ml

Care Plus Mini Spray

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (40%)

Special Features:
Handy, pocket sized spray containing 40% DEET. Can be taken in your hand baggage on airlines.

Suitability:
Pocket sized, general purpose, take anywhere.

lifesystems-midge-mosquito-repellent-spray

Midge Repellent

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (50%)

Special Features:
Contains DEET plus Myrtle and other plant extracts. Tested and proven by SafariQuip.

Suitability:
The midge-infested wilderness

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Repel Insect Repellent

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Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: DEET (52.25%)

Special Features:
Powerful and reliable, long lasting. A higher concentration than most.

Suitability:
Budget general purpose for tropics and jungle.

repel-100-insect-repellent-spray-60ml

Repel 100

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient:DEET (95%)

Special Features:
Very powerful and long lasting. Use sparingly as this is the maximum concentration made.

Suitability:
As strong as it gets!

 

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Picaridine Insect Repellents

Picaridin, (KBR 3023, Icaridin, Bayrepel, Saltidin, Piparidine) This insect repellent has been available worldwide since 1998. It is recommended by the World Health Organisation and reported by them as having comparable or superior repellent properties to DEET.

Advantages: repels a wide range of insects and ticks; doesn't cause skin irritation; doesn't dissolve plastics and fabrics; almost odourless; non oily; safe for young children (2 yrs); low toxicity.

Disadvantages: less common than other products; name difficult to remember; may need to be re-applied every 6-8 hours depending on concentration.

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Anti-Insect Sensitive

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: Piperidine 12.5%

Special Features:
Formulated for children and people with sensitive skin. Doesn't damage plastics or clothing. Water based

Suitability:
For adults & children (2yrs). Easy to apply. Safe.

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Expedition Sensitive

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Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: Saltidin 20%

Special Features:
Very effective, high concentration formula. Safe on sensitive skin. Doesn't damage plastics or clothing.

Suitability:
Longer lasting. Easy to apply. Safe.

 

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Natural Insect Repellents

Natural insect repellents are usually based on the essential oils of either Citronella or Lemon Eucalyptus. Citriodiol (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus) formulations have improved the effectiveness and reduced the need for frequent re-application helping natural repellents to become popular.

Advantages: non-sticky; non-toxic and environmentally friendly; safer on sensitive skins and some can be used on children as young as 3 months; reduced irritation; harmless to most plastics and fabrics.

Disadvantages: more expensive; may need more frequent re-application to maintain full protection.

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Mosi-Guard Extra Insect Repellent

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Type: Cream, Spray, Stick, Roll-on.

Active Ingredient: Citriodiol (lemon eucalyptus)

Special Features:
Natural, non-toxic, effective. Safe for children over 3 months & on sensitive skin. Harmless to plastics and clothing.

Suitability:
Excellent general purpose, lasts well. Safe for children (3mths).

 

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Pyrethrin and Pyrethroid Insect Repellents

Pyrethrins are naturally-occurring compounds with insecticidal and repellent properties that are found in pyrethrum extract from certain chrysanthemum flowers.

Pyrethroids are manufactured chemicals that are very similar in structure to the pyrethrins, but are often more powerful and longer lasting.

Advantages: safer to use on children, pets and plants; biodegradable; considered safe in normal use - low toxicity to mammals; does not accumulate in the body; generally harmless to clothing and plastics.

Disadvantages: harmful to fish and amphibians.

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PreVent Spray

Type: Spray Repellent

Active Ingredient: Pyrethrins (1.0% w/w)

Special Features:
Spray-on insect repellent provides protection for up to 6 hours. Compact and handy spray. Fine on children and clothes.

Suitability:
Small & compact, ideal for pocket or bag. OK for children.

 

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IR3535 Insect Repellents

IR3535 is a synthetic biocide used in Europe since the 1980's now as a repellent registered to Merck and approved for use as an insect repellent by the E.U. Not as widely used as other repellents, possibly because of contradictory reports of its effectiveness.

Advantages: few side effects and considered safe to use. Less oily than DEET and more pleasant to use.

Disadvantages: independent studies have produced widely differing reports of its effectiveness, particularly against malaria mosquitoes. May need to be re-applied more frequently.

 

Not currently stocked

Type:

Active Ingredient: IR3535

Special Features:
 

Suitability:
 

 

Insect Repellents - The types of application available

Spray Insect Repellents

Pump Spray Bottles and Aerosols  In common used for most repellents. Pump spray bottles have largely replaced aerosols for most brands making them more environmentally friendly and reducing the complications for air travel. 

Advantages: you can conveniently spray a small volume directly onto the skin without the risk of spilling or over application.

Disadvantages: not precise enough to use on the face close to your eyes and other sensitive skin. Difficult to apply close to clothing. Over-spray can be wasteful.

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Mini-Spray Insect Repellents

Mini Pump Spray Bottles Finger sized mini-spray bottles containing 8ml of the insect repellents DEET or Citriodiol (lemon eucalyptus) are now available, as well as bite relief and sun protection sprays. Bigger 25ml bottles of some repellents are also made.

Advantages: leakproof, light and ideal for carrying in a pocket or small bag on days out. No excuse now for not having an insect repellent with you when the mozzies start to bite. Much better value than insect repellent wipes and more environmentally friendly too.

Disadvantages: should be enough for several days but not sufficient for prolonged use in a high risk area.

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Cream or Lotion Insect Repellents

Cream in Tubes or Lotions in Bottles  Less commonly available so less choice of brand and formula. 

Advantages:easy to get a very precise coverage by putting a little on the fingers and then spreading over the skin. Economic because you have good control of the amount applied.

Disadvantages: can be a bit messy and you need to be able to wipe your hands clean after you've finished, and before you touch eyes, mouth, food, camera, sunglasses and so on.

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Roll-on Insect Repellents

Roll-on Bottles: Less commonly available so less choice of brand and formula. Normally a liquid repellent with a roller applicator. 

Advantages: very easy to apply precisely while keeping hands and clothing clean. Easy to carry around and generally less likely to spill.

Disadvantages: difficult to cover large areas evenly and thoroughly so better suited to use in areas of low insect risk.

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Stick Insect Repellents

Rub-on Sticks: Less commonly available so less choice of brand and formula. Normally the repellent is mixed with a wax. 

Advantages: easy to apply without mess. Nothing to spill. Less danger of getting on clothing.

Disadvantages: Wax sticks can melt in higher temperatures. Typically has a lower concentration of repellent. Can't be used to cover large areas.

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Associated Products

Insect Killers For when you need to clear a room or tent of insects before retiring to bed. Or perhaps you're having a barbeque and would like to eat not be eaten.

Bite Relief If you forget your repellent or are unlucky and still get bitten then the products below will help ease the discomfort and swelling. These will also work for stings.

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Mosquito Coils

Type: Repellent smoke

Active Ingredient: Bioallethrin (pyrethroid)

Special Features:
Slow burning, produces a light smoke which repels/kills mosquitoes and other insects.

Suitability:
No power supply, open space, clearing room or tent.

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Citronella (9hr) Candle's

Type: Repellent smoke

Active Ingredient: Citronella

Special Features:
Special high-melting point wax. Last for up to 9 hours. Fragrant and traditional.

Suitability:
No power supply, open space, indoors or tent.

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Portable Mosquito Killer

Type: Portable Mosqito Killer

Active Ingredient: Pyrethroid

Special Features:
Releases an odourless scent harmless to humans but deadly for insects. Uses batteries.

Suitability:
Large tents & rooms without a power supply.

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Mosqui Go Duo

Type: Plug-in Repellent

Active Ingredient: Prallethrin (pyrethroid)

Special Features:
Plugs into sockets and slowly releases repellent all night long.

Suitability:
Power supply, indoors.

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ZapperClick

Type: Electric bite pain neutraliser

Active Ingredient: N/A

Special Features:
Uses a small electric shock to provide instant relief to a bitten area. It works!

Suitability:
Handy relief.

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Bite & Sting Relief

Type: Spray-On Relief

Active Ingredient: Witch Hazel Extract

Special Features:
Uses a witch hazel extract to provide effective and fast relief from bites and strings.

Suitability:
Bites and stings from flying insects

 

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Why we don't stock some products.

Ultrasonic Mosquito Repllents Widely sold electronic ultrasonic mosquito and insect repelling gadgets sound a great idea but all the evidence is they don't work.

Repellent Wrist and Ankle Bands Put on and the mosquitoes stay away is the claim, but is keeping a band soaked in harmful toxic chemicals pressed against your wrists and ankles a good idea?

unsafe choice - gives no protection from mosquitoes

Ultrasonic Mosquito Repellents

Type: Electronic

Active Ingredient: High frequency sound

Special Features:
Numerous scientific studies have shown electric ultrasonic repellents don't work. View summary study.

Suitability:
None. Don't waste your money.

unsafe choice of insect repellent

Repellent Wrist & Ankle Bands

Type: Wrist or Ankle Band

Active Ingredient: High Conc. DEET

Special Features:
DEET is absorbed through the skin and toxic. Avoid continuous contact with strong concentrations on wrist bands.

Suitability:
Not for children. Use with caution.

 

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