Prevent Mosquito Bites in the United States

Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites

Can of mosquito repellent

Use Insect Repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentsexternal with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • DEET
  • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone

Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA’s search toolexternal.

Tips for babies and children

Adult applying insect repellent to a child’s face.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
  • When using insect repellent on your child:
    • Always follow label instructions.
    • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
    • Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
      • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Tips for everyone

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)

  • We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
  • To protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
  • Visit the EPA website to learn more.external
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

Treat clothing and gear

  • Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
    • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.
    • Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings.
    • Read product information to find out how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
  • Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
  • Watch the video, What You Need to Know About Permethrin.
Use screens on windows and doors

Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
  • Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
    • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
    • Check for water-holding containers both indoors and outdoors.

Related Resources
Mosquito Bite Prevention for the United States
Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites Outside