Mosquito Repellents Ranked Top to Bottom

It's mosquito weather, steamy and a little damp in some places of East Texas from a recent rain. People on Tyler's Rose Rudman trail say they're already biting. But with so many insect repellents to choose from, how do you know which one is going to keep the mosquitoes off your child while they play or while you exercise?

"My son and I were outside playing with my little girl and we came in and I had mosquito bites all over my legs," says Jennifer Barker, concerned East Texas mother. That's why Jennifer Barker and her kids need a reliable repellent. Parents know one bite from a mosquito can pass on the sometimes deadly West Nile Virus.

"I'm worried about them biting my kids," says Kevin Roycroft. "Because my youngest one is allergic to them."

For the insect repellent test, Consumer Reports made sure the mosquitoes were disease free.  All nine promised to safeguard against mosquitoes, and most promised added protection against ticks that carry lyme disease.

"Most of these insect repellents have DEET as their active ingredient," says Geoff Martin, consumer reports.

"It doesn't kill the insects, but it just repels them from your skin."

To see how long the sprays and lotions are effective, testers exposed their treated arms to 200 mosquitoes.  Then they repeated the process every half hour to see how long before the mosquitoes started biting.  Other testers put deer ticks on their wrists to test how long the ticks would avoid a section of repellent marked off on their arm.  Both tests found big differences.

"We found some repellents worked on mosquitoes for example as long as 13 hours in a normal application and some worked as little as one hour," says martin.

Overall Ratings from Consumer Reports:

3M Ultrathon                                 33%                  DEET                 13 Hours of protection.

Off! Deep Woods for Sportsmen 100%                  DEET                  13

Muskol Ultra 6 Hours                      40%                DEET                    8

Bugout                                              15%              DEET                     7

Sawyer Controlled Release                20%             DEET                     6

Cutter Unscented                               10%             DEET                     5

off! Skintastic with sunscreen SPF 30 10%             DEET                     4

Cutter Skinsations                                7%             DEET                     2

Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus                                                                                         IR3535 with sun block SPF30           7.5%            IR3535                   1

Now for anyone concerned about DEET's safety, Consumer Reports says DEET is safe when you use it according to directions.

You should keep a mosquito repellent with DEET away from babies under two months and far from your eyes, mouth and a cut.

Dana Dixon Reporting