These String Lights Claim to Prevent Bug Bites: See What Happened When I Tested Them

Plug-in LED string lights with built-in bug repellant seem like a great idea, but is it?
Mark Wolfe Avatar
An evening photo of the Tiki BiteFighter LED String Lights illuminating a screened-in porch

Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

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Nothing disrupts a relaxing evening outside like mosquitoes. Just like clockwork, when the sun goes down, the bugs come out to bite and annoy everyone at the party. Time to turn on the lights and apply bug spray—unless you’ve installed a set of bug-repelling outdoor lights. Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights might be the convenient two-in-one solution to buggy nights that we’ve been looking for since the invention of backyard grilling.

Wisconsin-based Tiki Brand is synonymous with relaxed outdoor living. The company has built a strong reputation and loyal customer base, starting with the original bamboo Tiki Torch dating back to the 1950s. It now offers a full line of decorative torches, fire pits, and fuels, along with “the first-ever LED string light with proven mosquito repellency.” I recently tested the Tiki BiteFighter string lights to find out if they worked as well as advertised, and I’m happy to say they do. Read on to learn about my backyard test and why these bug-repelling string lights may be a good choice for your space.

Tiki BiteFighter LED String Lights: At a Glance

A close-up of a person screwing a bug repellent diffuser into the Tiki BiteFighter LED String Lights
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.9/10


  • Durable string lights built for season-long use in all kinds of weather
  • 12 plug-in string lights at 36-inch spacing for excellent nighttime visibility
  • Repellent diffusers with replaceable pods offer 200 hours of silent protection
  • Flexible installation options to create a 330-square-foot mosquito-free zone
  • Lights operate independently of the repellent diffusers


  • A more expensive solution compared to regular LED string lights and bug spray
  • No built-in photocell for automated dusk-to-dawn operation
  • Must be installed within 10 feet of the ground; not suitable for balconies, raised decks, etc.

Get the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights at:

What are the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights?

Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights fulfill two important roles for backyard evening entertainment. They cast bright, warm light and repel insect pests, setting the stage for comfortable gatherings without bothersome bug bites. The set includes one 120-volt plug-in light strand, 14 shatter-resistant LED bulbs, and three replaceable single-use mosquito-repellent pods that last up to 200 hours, or 90 days at 2.4 hours per day.

Each 36-foot light strand holds 12 of the Edison-style LED bulbs, with fixtures spaced every 36 inches. They emit a pleasant glow that fosters drinks and conversation with excellent visibility. Three repellent diffusers, spaced at 12-foot intervals, silently vaporize the contents of the pods to keep mosquitoes at bay. Each diffuser covers a 110-square-foot area. When thoughtfully installed around the perimeter or over the top of a given space, the string creates a 330-square-foot bug-free zone. Tiki string lights are neutrally styled to go with any decor. Heavy-duty construction details include a weatherproof design for exposed installation, black commercial-grade 18/3 cable, and individual hang loops built into every bulb and diffuser fixture. For large areas, up to eight of these string lights can be connected end to end on the same electrical outlet.

Product Specs

  • Bulb type: 2-watt shatter-resistant Edison-style LED bulbs with threaded bases
  • Bulb count: 12
  • Bulb spacing: 36 inches
  • Light color: 2200K warm white light
  • Cable color: Black
  • Overall length: 36 feet
  • Illuminated length: 33 feet
  • Mosquito-repellent system: 3 diffusers; single-use replaceable pods
  • Active ingredient: Metofluthrin
  • Repellent coverage: 330 square feet
  • Powered by: Household electrical outlet

How easy is it to install Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights?

The Tiki string lights were very easy to install. They arrived in the box with the bulbs uninstalled for safe shipping, so I spread the cord on the ground below where I intended to install it, then installed the LED bulbs and repellent pods. After testing to ensure everything worked properly, starting at the plug end, I suspended each bulb fixture and diffuser from an S-hook (sold separately) by its own hang loop.

Installation was quick and painless to test near my bug-infested tree line and again on my covered deck. The wire was well packed to prevent tangles. The bulbs and repellent pods simply threaded into their sockets, and the hang loops held securely.

How bright is the light cast by Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights?

Having tested numerous solar LED string lights, I was immediately impressed by the light quality of the Tiki LED string lights. As a plug-in string light equipped with 2-watt bulbs, it was much brighter than solar-powered models with 1-watt bulbs. I found it easy to read magazine- or newspaper-size lettering on a printed page, and I could make comfortable eye contact during conversation. Plus, there was no worry about battery life or whether or not the sun would come out to recharge them.

I also noted that these 2200K warm white lights produced more of a yellow glow compared to other popular choices at 2700K. Lighting color temperature seems to be more of a personal preference, so those who prefer a more pure white light may not be completely satisfied with the warmth of the Tiki lights.

A close-up of a replaceable bug repellent diffuser compatible with the Tiki BiteFighter LED String Light
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Do the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights actually repel mosquitoes?

What really makes Tiki string lights stand out is bug repellency. For my nonscientific test, they worked quite well. I installed the lights in an especially buggy part of my yard near a wooded area. One warm, muggy evening when the air was still, I waited until the sun dipped down under the horizon and turned on the diffusers. I waited, as the manufacturer instructs, 15 minutes for them to start working. Wearing a T-shirt and shorts, I sat down in my lawn chair and waited to be devoured by mosquitoes. After an hour, I counted just two bites. I repeated the test two more times with similar results. Not bad.

The diffusers worked completely silently, and I liked that they can be controlled independently of the lights. When the light string is plugged in, the lights remain on. A built-in switch is used to turn the diffusers on or off while the lights are on. The metofluthrin-based repellent was totally scentless when opening and installing the pods, and while being vaporized. Best of all, this system eliminated the need for yard treatments and personal bug-repellent sprays and lotions.

The potential downsides for the repellency of this product relate to installation and weather conditions. The repellent is intended to work at ground level. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, the string lights must be installed within 10 feet of the ground to provide the advertised repellency. That eliminates the possibility of using them on a main-level deck extending over a walkout basement, among other potential uses. Also, breezy conditions would likely affect the coverage area.

Are the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights worth the money?

For all the convenience they offer, the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights come at a premium price. At the list price of $159, they run two to three times the price of plain string lights. As a point of comparison, these Hampton Bay plug-in LED string lights cost just under $50. Another cost to consider is the price of repellent refills when the first set of pods runs out. Replacement pods cost about $72 for a set of three, which will last another season or 200 hours of use.

But there are also savings to consider. Those who currently hire contractors for yard treatments or apply DIY products to prevent mosquitoes may be able to eliminate that recurring expense. And, since these diffusers work on demand, establishing a bug-free zone within 15 minutes of turning them on, repellent usage is better targeted, and less time, money, and energy are wasted. Anyone paying $30 to $50 per visit for monthly mosquito control applications might welcome the savings.

A person adjusting a light bulb on the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights, which are hanging on a screened-in porch
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Are Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights right for you?

Anyone who enjoys spending summer evenings on the deck or patio knows that biting insects have the potential to end a good time prematurely. Instead of spraying the yard with insecticide or yourself with bug repellent, the two-in-one Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights have the power to illuminate the space while keeping bugs away. In my tests, they worked as advertised and lit up my backyard with a bright and cozy warm glow.

If you are currently paying for professional yard treatments just to have a couple of pleasant evenings per week on the patio, these lights could be the money saver you’re looking for. The quality is top-notch, the lighting is warm and bright, and they really do eliminate bugs.

Where to Buy the Tiki BiteFighter LED String Lights

Get the Tiki BiteFighter LED string lights at:

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor living goods.

Mark Wolfe Avatar

Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.