The best mosquito protection.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
July 26 2005 2:20 PM

Bug Off!

Which mosquito repellents work best?

(Continued from Page 3)

This tiny spray bottle packs a wallop—one pump of the formula, which is 40 percent lemon eucalyptus oil, will singe your nostril hairs and the strong scent means cuddling under the moonlight is out. But does it keep the bugs away? The folks at the CDC knew what they were talking about when they added this active ingredient to the list of effective repellents. Whether at a backyard cookout or down in the stagnant river bottoms, Repel lived up to its name, lasting all night long with just a single application.

Ease of use: 8
Practicality: 4
Effectiveness: 70
Natural ingredient bonus: 5
Total: 87


Off! Botanicals Lotion
Price: $6.59 at
Category: chemical agent-meets-natural treatment
Active ingredient: p-menthane-3,8-diol and 7 percent DEET

The Off! Botanicals packaging touts its plant-derived formula extracted from eucalyptus leaves and twigs, but a closer look reveals that the product has a small percentage of DEET on its list of ingredients. Still, according to the EPA, Off! Botanicals isn't harmful to the environment and it can be applied judiciously without risk. Testers were thrilled to discover a mostly natural formula that could offer big-league protection: One application lasted upwards of two hours. The downside: While this lotion felt surprisingly light and nongreasy, its "garden scent" smelled like a cheap air freshener. Nevertheless, it did the trick, and we could rest easy in the great outdoors—no small feat in Memphis. The mosquitoes might hate it, but our test group gave Off! Botanicals a resounding "Amen."

Ease of use: 7
Practicality: 15
Effectiveness: 70
Natural ingredient bonus: 2.5
Total: 94.5

The author thanks Jennifer Ward, medical epidemiologist for the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department.

Andria Lisle, the author of Waking Up In Memphis, is a regular contributor at Mojo, Paste, and the Oxford American magazines.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.