Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent

  • Repels mosquitoes effectively
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Great scent
  • May attract beetles and bees
  • Can be difficult to remove, especially from fabrics

Bottom line

Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is effective against mosquitoes and other pesky bugs, but some reviewers say it actually attracts other insects like bees and beetles. It is safe for children and even pets. The oil formula needs to be rubbed in to cover the entire area. Reviewers say this insect repellent smells good. For a natural insect repellent that works equally well on most bugs, try our best reviewed product Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent (Est. $9 for 4 oz.) .


Works great on mosquitoes, but attracts other insects. Many consumers say Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is a safe and effective natural product for keeping mosquitoes at bay. ConsumerReports.org, however, gives it a score of just 24 out of 100. In its tests, the repellent was effective on mosquitoes for one to five hours, and on ticks for two hours. It isn't the best choice in intense environments like the deep woods or bug-infested tropical regions where you'd probably be better off with a DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil product, but works well for general outdoor use.

The main drawback for Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is that it appears to attract other insects, like bees and bees. In addition to many general observations by consumers, one beekeeper confirmed that their bees "loved to land on our arms and ankles to get a whiff of what we were wearing."

Feel and smell

Decent smell, but oily application. Whether DEET- or plant-based, insect repellents are known for their unpleasant odors. Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, which uses a citronella formula, seems to be one exception; consumers report that while the scent isn't neutral (it's described as herbal or citrusy), it also isn't offensive. The bottle's design makes the formula look like a spray but it is closer to an oil or lotion that you have to rub into your skin.

The formula is fairly greasy and reviewers warn it can be difficult to apply get off clothes or other fabrics. However, many are happy with Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, particularly given its affordable price and plant-based formula. ConsumerReports.org compares Burt's Bees to seven other insect repellents (many with DEET or picaridin) and finds it's least harmful to materials.

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent, 4-Ounce Pump Spray
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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Burt's Bees Herbal Repellent is the lowest-ranked of eight insect repellents tested by ConsumerReports.org, scoring 24 out of 100 in lab tests. It is rated as "very good" in the "damage to materials" category. Consumer Reports also looked at the insect repellent's effectiveness against two types of mosquitoes and ticks.

Review: Best Insect Repellents, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2013

2. Amazon.com

Amazon.com has about three dozen reviews of Burt's Bees Herbal Repellent, which is given 3.6 out of 5 stars. Many of the consumer comments provide valuable insight into the product, with users saying its non-chemical smell is appealing but the product may attract other insects including bees.

Review: Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, 4-Ounce Bottle, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013

3. SafeMama.com

SafeMama.com reviews and compares several insect repellents "free of DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEG's (polyethylene glycols), sulfates, dioxanes, propylene glycols and synthetic fragrances." The editors test many of the products including Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repllent, which the editor endorses for its effectiveness and "great" scent. It is greasy to apply, however.

Review: 2012 Bug Repellent Cheat Sheet, Editors of SafeMama.com, April 16, 2012

4. Allure

This is an informative but short article on keeping away pesky insects based on an interview with a dermatologist, who endorses Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent and California Baby Natural Bug Blend for their natural formulas. However, tests aren't conducted and there aren't many details on the products.

Review: Avoiding and Treating Mosquito Bites, Kate Sullivan, July 1, 2010

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