Enjoying the deck or patio shouldn’t include swatting mosquitoes away. Not only are they pesky, but they can transmit blood-borne diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, and malaria. Keeping these blood-sucking pests away means using one of the best mosquito repellents for patio time. Whether it’s keeping mosquitoes away or eliminating them, these products can help keep you and your guests comfortable and safe. This guide highlights some of the top products for the job and provides some advice on how to choose the right one for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Thermacell Radius Zone Gen 2.0 Mosquito Repellent
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller
- UPGRADE PICK: DynaTrap 1-Acre Mosquito & Insect Trap
- BEST CANDLE: Tiki Brand Triple-Wick Citronella Candle Bucket
- BEST LARVICIDE: Summit Mosquito Dunks
- BEST YARD SPRAY: Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray
- BEST INSECTICIDE: Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate
- BEST PERSONAL SPRAY: Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Before You Buy a Mosquito Repellent for Patios
Before purchasing a mosquito repellent, ensure that you have taken care of the area around your patio to prevent a proliferation of mosquitoes in the first place. Prevention includes regular yard maintenance of course, but it can also include more strategic natural pest control solutions. These are part of what’s known as integrated pest management, or IPM, which is a comprehensive strategy in which prevention is used before pesticides. Here are some chemical-free ways to manage bugs in your backyard and other outdoor areas:
- Eliminate standing water from buckets, troughs, puddles, and other areas to reduce egg-laying areas for mosquitoes.
- Install bat or birdhouses to encourage these natural pest control technicians to move in and control the population.
- Keep the grass mowed to between 3 and 4 inches to reduce moisture and breeding grounds.
- Grow herbs and plants that keep mosquitoes away, like mint, catnip, geranium, lemongrass, marigolds, basil, chrysanthemums, and other bug repellers.
- Use outdoor fans like this Lasko High-Velocity Floor Fan to keep air moving and mosquitoes away.
- Use physical barriers such as screens or nets where possible.
These pest-prevention methods can help minimize the use of pesticides and thus their negative impact, such as harming helpful pollinators or polluting water. Plus, having to use fewer chemicals in your outdoor space creates a safer environment for everyone in your home.
Sometimes, however, you need more than just these methods to manage mosquitoes. Coupled with prevention, mosquito repellents can help create a comfortable (nearly) pest-free zone. Though repellents are designed to keep mosquitoes away, either with chemical or natural ingredients, they aren’t always completely effective. Adding a mosquito trap or a chemical designed to get rid of mosquitoes for good may also be useful. That’s why this list includes repellents as well as other types of the best mosquito control products. To ensure safety for all those on your patio, be sure to use these products as directed.
How We Chose the Best Mosquito Repellents for Patios
In addition to making outdoor time less enjoyable, disease-carrying mosquitoes can cause health issues, so we knew we had to make sure the products that made this list were effective. We used our experience in pest control products to research a variety of effective products that could suit diverse needs and landscapes.
With the list of products at hand, we dug even deeper into each one. We compared price, ingredients, effectiveness (based on user reviews), and more to ensure that each product offered enough value. Those that failed were tossed aside while those that passed our tests were given awards based on their strengths.
Our Top Picks
With all that background on the best mosquito repellents for patios covered, it’s time to start shopping.
Backyard patio partiers looking for a top-notch mosquito repellent will want to check out the Thermacell Radius. This electronic mosquito repellent features a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 6.5 hours, providing plenty of runtime for most gatherings. The Thermacell Radius uses replaceable refill cartridges that contain metofluthrin, repelling mosquitoes in the areas.
These cartridges are heat activated, sending repellent in a 15-foot radius around the unit. As the unit heats up, it releases the repellent into the air without any odors. It does take 15 minutes to reach max protection, though, so you’ll want to turn it on and set it on the patio table a few minutes before heading out.
- Type: Electronic
- Active ingredient: Metofluthrin
- Coverage: 15-foot radius
- Rechargeable battery lasts for up to 6.5 hours, which is enough time for most gatherings
- Emits repellent in a 15-foot radius, easily covering large patio spaces
- Repels mosquitoes from outdoor spaces without scents
- It does take 15 minutes for the Radius to reach maximum protection
Get the Thermacell Radius mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon.
When it comes to repelling mosquitoes with an affordable and portable device, consider giving the MR300 from Thermacell a shot. This fuel-powered device uses replaceable fuel cartridges and allethrin-treated pads to keep mosquitoes away. All you have to do is flip the “start” switch three times and look for an orange glow in the sight window. It’s easy to use and the price point is affordable, making it possible to purchase several models for around the yard.
Each fuel cartridge lasts up to 12 hours in the MR300 electric mosquito-repellent device, while each replaceable mat lasts up to 4 hours. While replacing the cartridge and mats might be a pain, there’s no need to plug this device in or recharge batteries as long as refills are on hand. The repellent is odorless as well.
- Type: Fuel-powered
- Active ingredient: Allethrin
- Coverage: 15-foot radius
- Price point allows you to purchase multiple models for around the yard if desired
- Long runtime that doesn’t require cords or batteries
- Can be used in the backyard or taken on hiking and camping trips
- Requires separate cartridges for power
Get the Thermacell MR300 mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Folks with large yards and pesky mosquito problems will want to check out the DynaTrap large trap. This electronic trap plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet and features a weatherproof design. It traps mosquitoes in the removable canister in the bottom of the unit, and it can handle up to 1 acre of yard.
This trap uses a whisper-quiet fan, ultraviolet (UV) light, and titanium-dioxide coating to attract mosquitoes and catch them inside. The UV light and titanium-dioxide coating attract the mosquitoes away from the party and to the trap, while the fan sucks them in and dehydrates them in the bottom of the unit. It does take up to 3 weeks of constant use to make an impact, and up to 6 weeks to disrupt the breeding cycle. It also attracts all flying insects indiscriminately, including bees and ladybugs.
- Type: Electronic trap
- Active ingredient: None
- Coverage: 1 acre
- Uses a 3-tier approach, including the fan, UV light, and titanium dioxide
- Weatherproof design allows this trap to stay outside and continue running
- 1 acre of coverage is enough to protect most yards and patios
- Takes up to 3 weeks of constant use to make an impact on the mosquito population
- Also attract beneficial insects, like pollinators
Get the DynaTrap mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.
Anyone who wants to go old school with their mosquito repellency tactics might want to try the Tiki Triple-Wick citronella candle bucket. This large candle rests inside a galvanized bucket that will stand up to outdoor rigors. It also has three wicks that you can light to emit plenty of citronella scent into the air to keep mosquitoes away. The bucket measures 4.25 inches tall by 7 inches wide and comes with a plastic lid for storage.
This candle wax is mixed with citronella oil to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. It can burn for up to 32 hours to provide multiple nights of protection. Just beware that citronella candles’ effectiveness reduces in windy conditions.
- Type: Candle
- Active ingredient: Citronella
- Coverage: Unavailable
- Features 3 wicks to emit plenty of citronella scent into the air
- Stylish bucket blends in with patio decor and features a plastic lid for storage
- Provides up to 32 hours of protection against mosquitoes
- Loses its effectiveness when it gets windy
Get the Tiki mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon.
If standing water around the property is acting as the breeding ground for generations of mosquitoes, Summit Mosquito Dunks can offer a solution. These larvicide tablets contain bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI), a bacterium that attacks mosquito larvae before they can mature, keeping them from ever flying and biting, thereby disrupting the breeding cycle and getting rid of mosquitoes. These Mosquito Dunks each cover up to 100 square feet of water and can last up to 30 days before needing another dunk. These tablets are also safe for fish, pets, and wildlife, making them a great choice for any standing water around the property like bird baths, ponds, rain barrels, gutters, and more.
They’re also extremely easy to use. Just open the package and toss one into the water. For smaller areas of water, you can also break the dunk into halves or quarters. For areas where rain accumulates into standing water, use a stake to place the dunk in the area, and when it fills up with water, the dunk works the same way as it does in any other body of water. Keep in mind, however, that these dunks do not keep flying mosquitoes away from the patio area—it simply kills the larvae before they can mature.
- Type: Larvicide
- Active ingredient: BTI
- Coverage: 100 square feet of water
- Attacks mosquito larvae before they can mature, grow wings, and start biting
- 1 dunk can cover up to 100 square feet of water for up to 30 days
- Bacterium only attacks mosquito and midge larvae, making it safe for fish, pets, and wildlife
- Doesn’t repel flying mosquitoes
Get the Summit mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon or The Home Depot.
When it comes to treating an entire yard, it’s best to choose something as family- and pet-friendly as possible. Wondercide might be that product. This repellent’s active ingredients are cedarwood oil, sesame oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate—natural insect repellents that are safe for children and pets, even as soon as they’re applied. This formula is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, and more but is safe for beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators.
The Wondercide pest control spray attaches directly to the end of a garden hose, allowing you to apply it quickly and easily. It treats up to 5,000 square feet of yard space, making it a great choice around patios, decks, and other outdoor lounging areas. You will want to apply to the lawn and then reapply 2 to 10 days later (depending on the severity of mosquitoes); application can be repeated until bug control is established. After that, it’s recommended to apply Wondercide once a month. That’s not as long lasting as some yard sprays—some last up to 3 months—but Wondercide’s generally safe formula may make it worth the extra effort.
- Type: Yard spray
- Active ingredient: Cedarwood oil, sesame oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate
- Coverage: 5,000 square feet
- Doesn’t require dry time, making it pet- and family-friendly right after it’s sprayed
- Effective against mosquitoes, ants, ticks, and more but is safe for bees and other beneficial insects
- 1 bottle covers up to 5,000 square feet of yard, patio, or other lounging areas
- Doesn’t last as long as some other yard sprays
Get the Wondercide mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon or Wondercide.
Though not technically a repellent, the Cutter Backyard bug control spray can help keep deck dwellers free of mosquito bites. This formula’s active ingredient is lambda-cyhalothrin, an insecticide that kills mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other bugs, providing up to 12 weeks of bug control per application.
It’s very easy to use: Simply attach it to the end of a garden hose and spray the yard according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Each bottle covers up to 5,000 square feet of lawn, or slightly more than 1/10 acre. On the downside, it’s harmful if swallowed, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use around children and pets. It is also toxic to fish, so minimizing use is necessary to avoid water pollution.
- Type: Yard spray
- Active ingredient: Lambda-cyhalothrin
- Coverage: 5,000 square feet per bottle
- Spray kills a wide range of bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and more
- 1 bottle covers up to 5,000 square feet for up to 12 weeks
- Attaches to the end of a hose for an easy application process
- Careful use is required, particularly around children and pets, as it’s harmful if swallowed
- Toxic to fish, so minimal use is better for the environment
Get the Cutter mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
Folks who’d prefer to repel mosquitoes and protect themselves with a body spray that doesn’t contain DEET will want to consider this Repel plant-based insect repellent. The spray provides up to 6 hours of protection from bugs like mosquitoes, midges, and other flying and biting insects.
This mosquito repellent spray contains plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus, a natural insect repellent originating from Australia. The pump spray makes applying it extremely easy, and you can apply the spray directly to your skin or clothing to keep these pests away during hikes or backyard hangouts. It doesn’t last as long as some DEET-based sprays, but the natural ingredients should last long enough for most parties and barbecues.
- Type: Spray
- Active ingredient: Oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Coverage: Lasts 6 hours
- DEET-free formula uses natural ingredients to repel biting and flying insects
- Small 4-ounce pump spray makes it easy to store and transport
- Cool eucalyptus scent is more refreshing than other bug spray smells
- Doesn’t last quite as long as DEET-based sprays
Get the Repel mosquito repellent for patios at Amazon (2-pack), Lowe’s (2-pack), or Menards.
What to Consider When Choosing a Mosquito Repellent for Patios
When choosing the best mosquito repellent for patio spaces, you’ll want to take into account the type of product, its active ingredients, how safe it is, and more. The following sections delve into these considerations to ensure that you’re able to choose the best product for your needs.
Repellents are a part of a broader category of products categorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as pesticides. While many think of pesticides as products that kill pests, this category also includes products that prevent, destroy, mitigate, or repel pests. With that in mind, here are several types of mosquito repellents to consider, as well as other types of mosquito-control products.
- Candles are one of the most affordable options for patio mosquito repelling. These products usually contain citronella, which has long been used to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Some might also contain other oils taken from bug-repelling plants like lemongrass, peppermint, and more.
- Insecticides and larvicides are designed to impact a mosquito’s ability to regulate its body or grow. Insecticides are usually a spray-type mosquito treatment and can kill mosquitoes on contact. Larvicides are typically placed in standing water and prevent mosquito larvae from maturing. Keep in mind that both of these products can introduce chemicals into the ecosystem and can impact other plants, animals, and insects.
- Electronic mosquito repellent devices plug into an outlet or use battery power to keep mosquitoes away. They release repellents into the air around the device, making them one of the best mosquito repellents for yard time.
- Fuel-powered devices use a replaceable fuel cartridge and a pad or mat containing repellent. As you activate the device, a small fire inside of it heats the mat and releases the repellent into the air.
- Body sprays, lotions, and wipes are used to keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Mosquito-repellent sprays may contain chemical repellents, such as DEET or picaridin. Nonchemical sprays rely on a variety of naturally derived ingredients such as citronella, peppermint, or cedarwood oils.
- Electronic traps are also popular mosquito control products. These lanternlike products attract mosquitoes and then suck them in with a fan. The mosquitoes then end up trapped in a canister where the constant air movement dehydrates and kills them.
Ingredients and Safety
The active ingredients in mosquito control products can vary. The following are some of the most common and effective active ingredients in repelling products:
- Citronella is a naturally occurring oil found in the citronella plant. It’s often added to mosquito repellent outdoor candles, natural sprays, and torch fluids. It’s a safer alternative to many high-powered insecticides and pesticides, but blowing winds can limit a candle’s ability to keep mosquitoes away.
- Metofluthrin is one of a group of synthetic insecticides known as pyrethroids. It kills and repels mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. This includes beneficial species like honey bees and butterflies, but when metofluthrin products are used at night—when mosquitoes are more active—they are less likely to harm these beneficial species, as they tend to be dormant at night. Though metofluthrin is toxic to aquatic life, when used in vaporized form (as in the Thermacell Radius repellent above), it’s not likely to cause high aquatic concentration levels, according to the EPA. Still, with this info in mind, it’s important to use this highly effective outdoor mosquito killer according to manufacturer instructions.
- Allethrin is also a pyrethroid and as such, products containing it should be used solely for their intended use and according to directions.
- Lambda-cyhalothrin is another pyrethroid. It is used to repel and kill mosquitoes and other flying insects. As an insecticide, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- BTI (bacillus thuringiensis serotype israelensis) is a larvicide bacterium that can be applied to birdbaths, puddles, ponds, and other standing water where mosquitoes and midges lay eggs. BTI impacts the larvae’s ability to mature, killing them before they’re able to fly and bite. It’s also safe for fish, pets, and other wildlife.
- Octenol is a chemical that mimics carbon dioxide, the gas that humans expel when breathing and that also attracts mosquitoes. It’s used in electronic traps to draw the mosquitoes in close enough for the fan to pull them into the canister.
- DEET is another very common ingredient in insect repellents, especially for mosquitoes. It has been used by the public for this purpose since 1957, so its effectiveness is well documented. Formula concentrations range from 5 to 99 percent, but personal use likely requires no more than 50 percent at most. It’s often used in body sprays to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects from landing or crawling on the wearer.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a biopesticide. Though it is derived from the eucalyptus plant, it is refined to increase the concentration of para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD). This higher concentration of PMD gives oil of lemon eucalyptus its mosquito-repellent quality.
- Natural oils like lemongrass, peppermint, soybean, tea tree, cinnamon, and lavender are effective at repelling insects and are used in many natural products like sprays and candles. They can be some of the best natural mosquito repellents. Some folks even use them in homemade mosquito repellents.
Coverage Area and Longevity
Be sure to check the coverage for any product being considered. Mosquito repellents are all effective within a certain range, which is typically just a few hundred square feet. Some patios might be larger, requiring you to purchase several devices or candles for total mosquito repellency.
It’s also worth noting how long each product will last. A candle may offer 24 hours of burning time, while an insecticide spray may work for up to 3 months. Electronic repellents may need to be refilled every few hours. All products have a limit, but knowing how long they’ll last will keep you prepared.
Ease of Use
How easy a product is to use may determine how likely a patio user is to break it out. For example, candles are very easy to light, so buyers are more likely to use them. However, pulling out an extension cord, plugging in a fan, hanging it in the yard somewhere, and then waiting for it to start attracting mosquitoes might not be so appealing. Be sure to consider how easy one of these products is to use before deciding if it’s the best fit for a given outdoor space.
Tips for Repelling Mosquitoes from Patios
If you’re using a bug lantern or trap, boost its effectiveness by dimming the other lights in the area or changing the fixture bulbs from white to yellow. This will ensure more mosquitoes fly toward the trap’s light.
Make sure to remove any standing water in buckets, puddles, and other areas around the patio. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, making the mosquito issue worse.
Consider using multiple methods, such as candles, sprays, and traps, to keep mosquitoes from ruining the party.
- Change white bulbs to yellow and dim the lights altogether to boost the effectiveness of a trap or lantern.
- Remove any standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs and cause more issues.
- Consider using several of these products for a multipronged attack against mosquitoes, midges, and other flying insects.
Even with all that information about the best mosquito repellent for patio spaces, you may still have questions. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about these products.
Q. Will mosquito repellents also repel other bugs?
Most mosquito repellent products will work against other pests as well. The ingredients in these products are often effective against other flying insects, ticks, fleas, spiders, and various bugs.
Q. How do you mosquito-proof an outdoor area?
There is no way to mosquito-proof an outdoor area. However, using a combination of mosquito repellents like sprays and candles as well as traps and other mosquito products can greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area.
Q. What do professionals use to keep mosquitoes away?
Professionals generally fog outdoor areas with insecticides to keep mosquitoes away.
Q. Why are there so many mosquitoes on my patio?
There is likely a water source nearby where they are laying eggs. The other contributor to the number of mosquitoes nearby is that they are attracted to carbon dioxide, which is the gas we expel as we breathe.
Q. Where should I put a mosquito repellent in my yard?
Each product is different. However, placing a mosquito repellent in shady areas and around tables where people sit is the most effective way to keep them at bay.
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