A Victoria’s Secret Perfume Works Great as Mosquito Repellent

A scent named “Bombshell” is almost as good as DEET

Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS

Mosquitos are one of the most hated bugs: their bites are itchy, they make obnoxious noises and they spread diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. The search for elusive mosquito repellents that are both safe and effective seems endless. But scientists recently stumbled on a new solution that works almost as well as DEET: “Bombshell” perfume from Victoria’s Secret.

“There was some previous literature that said fruity, floral scents attracted mosquitoes, and to not wear those,” researcher Stacy Rodriguez at New Mexico State University said in a statement.

So when the team of researchers tested the effectiveness of a variety of insect repellents, they figured using the fruity, floral perfume as a control would make sense. But for "Bombshell," instead of attracting mosquitoes, the perfume drove them off, Aamna Mohdin reports for Quartz.

To figure out how good each repellent was at getting rid of mosquitos, Rodriguez and her colleagues put about 20 mosquitos at the base of a Y-shaped tube. A volunteer then covered each prong with one of their hands—one treated with an insect repellant, the other untreated.

When the mosquitos were released, the researchers then counted how many flocked to each hand.

When tested, the Bombshell perfume repelled mosquitos for about two hours after it was applied, almost as effective as DEET, the best of the repellents tested. 

Many of the natural alternatives had little effect, one in particular—The Mosquito Patch, made with vitamin B—even attracted the insects, Annalee Newitz writes for Gizmodo.

But don’t rush to dump all your bug repellent for smelly perfume: According to the researchers, they tested an extremely high concentration of perfume. More tests are needed to tell if dolling up with Bombshell for a night on the town could keep away the bugs.

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