Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness
Questions on Pesticides?
- National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)
Updated on April 10, 2013
What would you like to know about insect repellents? We can help you find information about how long EPA-registered repellents will work and how to use them. We also have information about other ways to protect yourself from biting insects as well as some of the reasons you might want to use insect repellents.
Effective insect repellents can protect you from serious mosquito- and tick-borne diseases. In the United States, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. Ticks can transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.
Using the right insect repellent and other preventive actions can discourage ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects from landing on you. Repellents are available to protect you from insects and give you the length of protection you need, based on your planned activity.
- Search tool to find a repellent that is right for you
- How do I know which repellent is right for me?
- Using insect repellents safely
- Insect repellents: EPA registered vs. unregistered pesticides
- Other preventive actions to avoid getting bitten
- More information about insect repellents and insect-borne diseases
Search for a Repellent that is Right for You
Use the search tool below to help you choose skin-applied repellent products that will give you the protection you need. To select the product that is right for you, you need to know the insect from which you need protection and the amount of time you plan to be outdoors. Shorter protection time does not mean the product is less effective. Be sure to use a repellent product with a protection time that fits your activity, perspiration, water, temperature, and how attractive you are to insects. Re-apply repellent according to label instructions.
Use the search tool to help you choose the repellent product that is right for you. Keep in mind the insect you need protection from and the amount of time you plan to be outdoors. You can specify the insect, protection time, active ingredient, or other product-specific information.
The product listings contain only skin-applied insect repellent products registered by EPA. Unregistered products are not included. Learn more about unregistered repellent products.
The registration number means the company provided EPA with technical information on the effectiveness of the product against mosquitoes and/or ticks. While this technical information is based on scientific testing guidelines and approved study methodology, there are variations in the resulting protection times because of differences in the testing conditions.
A single registered insect repellent product may have multiple product names that a company may use for marketing purposes. You can look for the registration number of repellents products you buy and check them against this database.
Some of the products listed may not be available in all areas of the United States.