As far as deet goes, the higher the concentration the longer it lasts, it doesn't really make it more effective. I prefer to use the lowest concentration for the amount of time you want it to work.
I like picaridin over deet. It can be hard to find, but is sometimes at outdoor stores. It doesn't smell and is what is in skin so soft mosquito repellent(sometimes).
Thermacell I'm a little weird about. Basically it is just vaporizing a pyrethroid. So you are sitting there in an area that is being fogged breathing it in. Probably not really hazardous, but makes me feel kinda weird about it.
As far as the patches go, I have no idea. Maybe. I know that niacin(vitamin B3 works). However, you need a pretty high concentration of it and I break out in a rash by the time I get to that level. This product is vitamin B1 or thiamin and it may do the same thing. Don't know about side effects. Give it a shot. You may be able to just do regular doses of vitamin B1 off the shelf and save a lot of money. Maybe 3 a day or something.
Earlier I said that I know niacin works. What I should have said is that I have long heard that niacin works, but I do not know if it works. I tried it once to see if it would using whatever dose was recommended, but discontinued use quickly due to developing a rash that was worse than mosquito bites. Also, there may be some problems with using high doses of niacin, so I urge caution there. Just because something is a vitamin, doesn't mean you can take as much as you want. Vitamin D3 is rat poison, after all.
If the real problem we are trying to address is that we don't want to expose ourselves to substances which cause physiological changes which may be adverse, then it would not seem to be a good idea to overload our bodies with vitamins or other substances known to cause physiological changes.
Personally, I prefer to avoid DEET. It stinks, and does have some safety risks. Also, I have children, so I need something that works for them when they aren't playing in my own mosquito free yard. I won't put DEET on my children at all, but if I did it would be 5 or 7%. They aren't outside that long at a time usually anyway.
It's 10% picaridin, which should give 2-3 hours of protection and is fairly low in concentration. I don't like to use stronger stuff than is needed. Picaridin to my knowledge doesn't have the same neurological effects that are potentially a problem with DEET. For adults or teens and outdoors expeditions, I like the 20% picaridin. It lasts 4 hours or more.
For sure, I don't put repellents on children who can't walk yet. I just keep them out of the mosquitoes. The CDC says DEET and picaridin are safe on children over 2 months of age and that oil of lemon eucalyptus is safe for children over 3 years of age. Funny that it is the "all natural one". I question those numbers a bit. If you cover a 2 month old up in some 100% DEET I would expect you should go ahead and get ready to take your quivering mass of a baby to the ER later.
For all the flack I get about safety and the cross looks and probing questions about the safety of my products, consumers sure do a lot of boneheaded things with pesticides and repellents.
Picaridin repellents are not easy to find in stores, I suggest buying online.
IR 3535(just going off memory, can't remember if that is the exact name) is supposed to be another good one, but isn't in use here in the US very much.
There are some plants that repell them. Sorry cannot really remember the name but I'm sure someone is going to let you know here.
Contractor talk is a great site with genuine people and their genuine suggestions.
I wouldn't count on plants repelling them. For one thing I don't think they actually repel them terribly well. Maybe well enough that if you surround your chair with those plants in pots you might be safe. I would be surprised if their zone of repellency extended beyond the plant itself by much, if any at all. To me it would be that you could have a bush or plant that didn't attract resting mosquitoes the way most bushes and plants do.
My prediction is that such plants would have practically no effect on how often you get bit by mosquitoes, but I have never tried it.
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