Prevent Mosquito Bites

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Mosquito Bites

Can of mosquito repellent

Use insect repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents 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 tool.

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.
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.

Prevent Mosquito Bites When Traveling Overseas

Remember to pack the following items

  • EPA-registered insect repellentsexternal
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, tents) treated with 0.5% permethrin. You can treat your own items or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Mosquito net if you will be sleeping outside or when screened rooms are not available.

Keep mosquitoes out of your hotel room or lodging

  • Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or window and door screens.
  • Use a mosquito net if you are unable to stay in a place with air conditioning or window and door screens or if you are sleeping outside.
Bed net in package

Sleep under a mosquito net

Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outside or when screened rooms are not available. Mosquitoes can live indoors and bite during the day and night.

  • Buy a mosquito net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
  • Choose a mosquito net that is compact, white, rectangular, with 156 holes per square inch, and long enough to tuck under the mattress.
  • Permethrin-treated mosquito nets provide more protection than untreated nets.
    • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills mosquitoes and other insects.
    • To determine if you can wash a treated mosquito net, follow the label instructions.
Bed net hung over a bed

Use mosquito nets correctly

Mosquito nets can be hung above a bed or crib to protect against mosquito bites. Adults and children should sleep under a mosquito net if air conditioned and screened rooms are not available.

When using a mosquito net:

  • Tuck the net under the mattress to keep the mosquitoes out.
  • Tuck netting under the crib mattress or select a mosquito net long enough to touch the floor.
  • Pull the net tightly to avoid choking hazards for young children. Check label instructions for additional information.
  • Hook or tie the sides of the net to other objects if they are sagging in towards the sleeping area.
  • Check for holes or tears in the net where mosquitoes can enter.
  • DO NOT hang the net near any candles, cigarettes, or open fires, as it can catch on fire.
  • DO NOT sleep directly against the net, as mosquitoes can still bite through holes in the net.
Related Resources

Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers

Mosquito Bites Can Make You Sick