After reading a recent article, I wrote this as a comment and thought I'd post it here as well. Someone should get something out of my suffering. Here is the original article.
I am a mosquito magnet. If I'm standing next to you, you can bet you will not get bitten. Since cloning isn't available, here are a few pearls of wisdom I've accumulated as I've waged war on the little blood suckers:
1.Do not spray yourself with anything that doesn't say it's "safe" to do so. Whoever was spraying down with RAID, might want to check that one out. Be careful what you spray on your pets, too. Some dogs are more prone to being bitten, but spraying the dog with something they will inevitably lick can make them sick. READ LABELS!
2. Skin So Soft works unless you're me. Pretty sure the mosquitoes just thought they'd found the spicy flavor of me that day. I put in the same category as this using a dryer sheet. My mother and Nana swear by both. Putting a dryer sheet in your pant waist, sock or wherever you can get it distracts the buggers. Again, neither of these work for me.
3. Citronella oil works if you get those big tiki torches and leave a big chunk of the wick out. I'm not sure how much of the repellent is the oil and how much is the smoke, but the combo works.
4. I love the OFF! lanterns. They work like a charm. Lighting the candle is a bit of a hassle, and you have to keep tabs on the pad to refill before it wears off. The effectiveness and reduced risk of burning down your house make the hassle worth it.
5. Yard sprays that attach to your hose (we've used the Cutter version for a couple of summers) have to be reapplied, especially if you get a rash of rain. They seemed to have some effect on reducing the mosquitoes in our yard, which normally has literal clouds of the vile little creatures. It did not eliminate them completely though. I've used the granules that you spring in standing water to prevent the eggs from hatching, and the combination worked better.
6.Speaking of standing water, don't forget down spouts, window wells, drainage channels, storm drains and check your surrounds neighbors' yards, too. We're convinced a neighbor behind us is breeding half the mosquitoes in northern Virginia because they have bad drainage and don't see to care.
7. A word of warning about bat and marlin houses. I was all for this, and in a big way, but I was advised by our vet that the bats and birds are going to defecate after the mosquito feast and their poop is poisonous to pets. I have enough trouble keeping my dog from eating his own poop, so the idea died there.
8.The clip on fans (the ones I tried were OFF!) are worthless. If there's any breeze or if you're walking, the scent can't build up enough to be effective. I was even wearing 2 of them, and I have a dozen bites to show for it. Went back inside and sprayed on old faithful ...
9. If cancer doesn't get me, malaria or west nile will, so I use Deep Woods OFF! I'm very brand loyal there because it's the only one I've used and not gotten a single bite.
We're hardscaping our backyard (it's small) in hopes we can better control the environment and reduce bugs that way. I'm researching plants that naturally repel the beasts and will be testing a few other lantern-type options, too.