Store Bought Options
You can find many options for insect repellents on the market. In most grocery stores, outdoor stores, and of course, natural foods stores, there are several brands available. Here are a few to try:
Prickly Pear Brand Cactus Juice, at $9.49 for 8 oz., is a mosquito repellent and sun block. It lasts six hours.
Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent uses a combination of lemon grass, rosemary, citronella and five other oils bugs hate.
Nature's Herbal Natural Mosquito Repellent and Insect Shield, at $16.95 for 8 oz., is the more expensive option, but this one uses cat nip oil, which has been reported to be 10 times stronger than DEET. It lasts eight hours.
It is not difficult to make homemade insect repellents. One of the benefits is that you can experiment with what works for you, in your situation, and modify this until you have a perfect blend for you. For example, maybe you don't need the strongest mix available, but would like something that smells nice. Here are some ideas to try:
Essential oils that repel insects: rosemary, citronella, cat nip, lemon grass and any citrus oils repel mosquitoes and fleas and ticks. Peppermint repels flies and ants.
Basic spray: In a spray bottle, use water, alcohol, witch hazel, or a light oil such as grapeseed oil. Use in any combination you like.
Mix about 2 to 3 and up to 5 drops of essential oil per 2 oz. of base spray. Use no more than 3 oils in combination for best effect, because the oils in combination have a synergistic effect. Unless you know a lot about blending fragrance, it is best to keep it simple.
Alternatively, you could put a few drops of oil in an essential oil diffuser, which, if the scent is pleasant to you, could be a good option for long lasting effectiveness.
Other Insect Repellents
Aside from sprays and lotions, here are a few other ways to keep insects at bay:
Cucumbers left on counter tops can deter roaches and ants.
A spray bottle of soapy water can deter many pests in the garden.
Garlic will deter ants and roaches.
Planting marigolds in the garden will also deter pests, as they do not like the smell of the flowers.
Cedar chips will deter moths. Just put a sachet of cedar chips in closets or drawers.
Whatever your needs for insect repellents, remember to keep it simple and keep trying.