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The Best Insect Repellents for Your Deck and Patio

Sick of bugs ruining your outdoor gatherings? The right insect repellent can help control creepy critters in your yard.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Child surrounded by mosquitosFamVeld/Getty Images

Choosing Insect Repellent for Your Yard

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of insect repellent choices available today. How do you choose the right one?

Start by figuring out what types of bugs you’re targeting, how large of an area you want to cover and whether you’re willing to use chemicals. Some repellents work on all insects, while others specialize in one or two types, typically mosquitoes. Further, bug-repelling products might protect an area as small as a deck or as large as your whole yard. It all depends on your needs and how much you’re willing to spend.

If you have children or pets, you may want to avoid products that use toxic chemicals. There are plenty of non-toxic or even all-natural insect repellent options that are safer to use.

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Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray

The Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray is a popular choice for those looking to banish mosquitoes, spiders, fleas, ants and crickets. A 32-oz. bottle of this spray is enough to treat up to 5,000 sq. ft. of lawn. Simply attach the bottle to a garden hose for easy application.

“We’ve had good success with this ready-to-spray bug control,” explains one reviewer on The Home Depot web site. “I just connect the hose and spray my Bermuda lawn front and back…It helps keep mosquito population to a minimum and also kills ants and other bugs in the lawn.”

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Thermacell Cambridge Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern

This product might just look like your average patio lantern, but it’s also an effective bug-repelling device. The Thermacell Patio Shield Lantern creates an invisible barrier against mosquitoes in a 15-ft. area using its heat-activated repellent mats. It’s silent and odor-free, and Amazon reviewers absolutely love it.

“I live by a lake, and as such during the summers mosquitoes are unbearable,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “My sister-in-law bought the zapper and although it works, it’s a mess of mosquito carcasses, and you can’t help but hear the zing of dying mosquitoes! We used this and although we have a pretty small backyard, my husband was untouched while grilling. It’s also super cute!”

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Murphy’s Natural Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

Mosquitoes are arguably the biggest nuisances in the summer, but you can keep them at bay with Murphy’s Natural Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks. The sticks are made with natural ingredients like citronella, rosemary and peppermint, all of which repel bugs. Each stick provides around 2-1/2 hours of mosquito protection in a 12-ft. radius, and they get the seal of approval from hundreds of Amazon reviewers.

“They work much better than the other Citronella sticks,” says one buyer. “They are shorter and thicker but burn longer (approximately two hours). You can smell the essential oils rather than just a burning odor. Mosquitoes are persistent, so these work best when you keep one burning. When that one goes out, light another.”

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Summit Mosquito Dunks

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and you can stop the little buggers cold using Summit Mosquito Dunks. Put one of these into water fixtures like bird baths and decorative ponds, and it will kill mosquito larvae for up to 30 days.

“I’ve got a small pond, and until I started using these we had a terrible mosquito problem,” writes one verified reviewer. “Now I throw a few of these in the water every couple of months, and we get very few mosquitoes. I really like that these don’t hurt our fish or frogs or anything else.”

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Bug Zapper and Attractant

Bug zappers might seem like an outdated concept, but they’re still a favorite among many homeowners — mainly because they work. This 2-in-1 Bug Zapper & Attractant helps to get rid of flies and mosquitoes, and it has an impressive 1/2-acre range.

“After just two weeks, the grid and the bottom catch tray were filled with hundreds, if not a few thousand, of dead mosquitoes and Japanese beetles!” writes one reviewer. “We were getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes beginning at dusk to the point we could not use our back porch in the evenings. From the time I put this up, the mosquito population dropped dramatically to the point to almost zero on our porch.”

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Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle

Citronella is a natural ingredient that deters mosquitoes and other bugs, and this Repel Citronella Candle is an ideal bug-control option for your deck or patio. The 20-oz. candle provides up to 40 hours of protection, and it features three wicks for more even burning.

“We take them on every camping trip — put them around the perimeter of the campsite, and we’re good to go!” says one reviewer who gives the candles five stars. “We have tried single-wick candles, and they are a bust, with lots of wax ending up wasted. The triple-wick is the only way to go.”

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Patio Egg

It might not look like much, but the sleek Patio Egg is surprisingly effective at repelling mosquitoes and other insects. The ceramic decoration comes with a bottle of its special essential oil blend, and it can help deter insects in a 200 sq. ft. area.

“I am in LOVE with this product. We have tried so many mosquito repellents,” explains one Amazon buyer. “This is the first that lasts and is so easy. I don’t have to light it and forget to blow it out or turn it on and forget to turn off and have a dead battery. This works all the time and covers our entire back deck area.”

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TIKI Brand Bitefighter Torch Fuel

Tiki torches have been a popular method of deterring insects for many years. Even if you don’t like the look of traditional tiki torches, you can use the TIKI Bitefighter Torch Fuel in other types of vessels. The bottle features an easy-pour spout that prevents spilling, and the citronella and cedar formula is great for repelling mosquitoes.

“I have a water feature in my backyard and a neighbor has standing water, so we have mosquitoes fairly BAD at night,” writes one reviewer. “I had two tiki torches lit up with this oil about 12 feet apart. I sit in the middle of them, about six feet away and didn’t have a single mosquito in the 30 minutes I was outside eating dinner.”

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Ortho Home Defense Backyard Mosquito Killer Fogger

Ortho Home Defense Backyard Mosquito Killer Fogger is another popular spray-style product that helps kill and repel mosquitoes and other garden pests. Apply it to shrubs, bushes and grassy areas, and it kills bugs there for up to eight hours afterward.

“It’s like bug repellent, only for everywhere else but your skin,” explains one reviewer. “All you have to do is spray nearby plants, bushes and trees and the bugs will stay away (mostly). It smells just like traditional bug spray, so it’s not too bad. It still beats having that sticky feeling.”

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Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in fashion, beauty, home, smart technology and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to combine her love for fashion and writing.

Camryn is a regular contributor to popular media sites such as Martha Stewart, Food52, InStyle, Taste of Home, USA Today,, The Spruce, Elite Daily and The Everygirl. She has also worked with several Fortune 500 companies to create engaging articles for their content marketing initiatives. Despite pressure from her peers, she remains on team #NoOxfordComma.