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Skip the bug spray — this scentless gadget keeps my patio mosquito free for hours

It's flame-free and easy to use!
Courtesy Kara Quill

I've always been one to enjoy a nice day spent outside. While that's still true, my year living in North Carolina has also made one thing very clear: I do not enjoy mosquitoes.

It's amazing how quickly a glorious summer day relaxing in the sun can turn into a night covered in anti-itch cream, scratching away at multiple bug bites. Trust me, I've been there. And while this Bug Bite Thing really works once you have the bite, I needed a problem solver to prevent them altogether.

I remembered seeing Thermacell's Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller in the back of my closet and decided to finally give it a try. One particularly buggy night, before the pests found their way to my skin, I placed the device on my porch and let it work its magic. I knew as soon as I turned the machine on that the rest of my summer was saved. (And it looks like I'm in for another bug-bite-free season this summer as well!)

Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller

It's a fast-acting and easy-to-use repeller

I noticed the difference in the number of bugs flying around pretty quickly, and soon I was left to enjoy the outdoors in peace. I was pleased with its fast-acting power but even more impressed with its functionality — it's so easy to use!

To start keeping the bugs away, you just have to follow three simple steps. First, make sure the included fuel cartridge is properly twisted into the machine (from the bottom). Next, slide the repellent mat into the top. Then, all you need to do is turn the bottom of the device into the "on" position and presto! No more bugs.

According to the brand, the fuel cartridge lasts up to 12 hours and even creates a 15-foot shield of surrounding protection. Each heat-activated mat is made to last for four hours and will change color — from blue to white — to let you know when it needs to be replaced.

Associate Commerce Social Editor Kara Quill holding a Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
I've had a bug-free summer thanks to the Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller.Courtesy Kara Quil

One thing I hate more than mosquito bites is mosquito repellent. So many sprays leave my skin feeling sticky and smelling like chemicals. Thanks to the unscented Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller, I never have to endure another whiff of citronella again.

On top of being odorless, this repeller can act as a non-messy alternative to bug spray, is DEET-free and has no open flame. Even better? It's lightweight, portable and comes in multiple colors, so you can match it to your space.

Thermacell Max Life Mosquito Repellent Refill

It actually keeps mosquitoes away!

While I could sing Thermacell's praises all day, you don't have to just take my word for it. Out of more than 42,000 reviewers, over 26,000 of them have given this device a perfect five-star rating. They can't stop raving about how well it works.

"This thing works MIRACLES y’all! Freaking MIRACLES," one verified reviewer wrote. "I let it warm up for a good 5-10 min, and it works amazingly. When [I let] it warm up I [receive] ZERO bites within that 10-15-foot radius, which is perfect for our deck."

Another remarked on how quiet the machine was, and how they convinced all their visitors to purchase one.

"I honestly didn't even realize it was on and running," the verified reviewer wrote. "It doesn't make noise, doesn't [produce] a smell, and doesn't really take up any room at all. Pretty dang amazing."

All in all, this repellent saved me from spending my summer itching at annoying welts. It has also made spending time outdoors more enjoyable — and more importantly, mosquito-free.