Keep the Bugs Away So You Can Play Summer is here and the mosquitoes aren't far behind. Some folks avoid these flying critters by staying indoors, others bug-proof their yards, pools and patios . . . but many of us choose reach for a bottle -- of insect repellent. Turns out many of us also believe bug spray isn't safe – the good news is that researchers have come to a different conclusion: Consumer Reports, the EPA, and the CDC all say the best products are safe and effective. Research shows that while DEET-based products do the job, the more "natural" alternatives like citronella have no evidence-based, proven effectiveness. There is a middle category of sprays, however – those that do not contain DEET yet are "long lasting", according to the CDC. They include active ingredients of picaridin and oil of eucalyptus. Sawyers Fisherman Formula and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus got the highest marks from users. DEET is the most commonly feared of the bug spray ingredients, but the EPA has found it to be safe and the CDC recommends it as the most effective product for fighting mosquitoes. What is DEET, anyway? It's the brand name for diethyltoluamide, an oily liquid that is colorless and nearly odorless. And it's the active ingredient in all the most popular and effective insect repellants. Two DEET-based products score "recommended" from Consumers Reports: Repel Scented Family (15% DEET), as well as Off! Deepwoods VIII (25% DEET). These products work not by sheer stinkiness, but by baffling flying creatures, and making humans seem like poor choices as landing zones.