Proven methods to keep the bugs at bay.

By Stephanie Sisco
Updated May 30, 2018
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Planning to spend as much time outdoors as possible this summer, hosting cookouts and patio dinner parties? Then you're going to need a top-notch bug repelling plan. From bug repellant sprays that really work, to modern mosquito bracelets, these six pro-approved tips are proven to keep the bugs at bay. Once you've turned your backyard into a bug-free zone, the outdoor dinner parties will last late into the night.


Use Mosquito-Repelling Scents

Place jarred citronella candles ($11 for 3, or insect-repelling incense under the dining table to help keep feet and ankles bite-free.—Colin Cowie, event planner

Home Depot

Buy Some Bug-Repelling Bracelets

I first spotted mosquito-repellent bracelets ($17 for 6; making the rounds at my son’s soccer tournaments. They’re sweat-proof and kid-safe.—Elizabeth Demos, Savannah-based designer and prop stylist

Bed Bath and Beyond

Turn to a Family-Safe Formula

I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees’ herbal insect repellent ($8; It’s safe for the whole family and smells like yummy lemons.—Nicole Gibbons, interior designer


Slather on Bug-Repelling Sunscreen

Sunscreen bug repellent ($14 for 2, It’s not the highest SPF at 15, but it’s a great option for when you don’t feel like slathering on sunscreen AND bug spray.—Elizabeth Demos, Savannah-based designer and prop stylist


Light Some Citronella Candles

With their soft firelight, Tiki citronella candles ($12 for 3, create great ambiance without a smoky fire, and are easy to light and put out.


Invest in a Patio Shield

The Thermacell Patio Shield ($25; creates a barrier against mosquitoes without any scent or flame.—Tara Guérard, event planner