When the hot, humid months of summer roll around, I usually skip using any flowery, sweet-smelling perfumes because I don’t like to be followed around by clouds of mosquitoes. But just because a scent is particularly odoriferous, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be more susceptible to bug bites, according to a study that studied a flowery fragrance from Victoria’s Secret along more traditional insect repellents.
A group of scientists at New Mexico State’s Molecular Vector Physiology Lab studying the most effective mosquito repellents tested 10 different formulas, including camping standbys like DEET, as well as a Victoria’s Secret perfume called Bombshell. They published their findings in the Journal of Insect Science.
Researchers put mosquitoes to the test by giving them two options: either leave a holding chamber in one part of a Y-shaped tube and head to a researcher’s bare hand, with no repellant on it, or wind up on a hand coated with one of the repellents.
When the mosquitoes were set loose, the researchers counted how many chose the hands with treatments on them, in order to measure how attracted they were. They also took measurements over time in order to see which repellents were most effective after a few hours.
DEET-based repellents were the most effective, while bare hands attracted 61% of the mosquitoes. But as it turns out, the Victoria’s Secret perfume worked almost as well as formulas with DEET: it attracted only 17% of mosquitoes and stayed effective for 120 minutes.
Researcher Stacy Rodriguez initially decided to test the perfume in the research to see if fragrant, sweet smells attract the pests or not..
“There was some previous literature that said fruity, floral scents attracted mosquitoes, and to not wear those,” she said in a statement. “It was interesting to see that the mosquitoes weren’t actually attracted to the person that was wearing the Victoria’s Secret perfume – they were repelled by it.”
Stow that one away for summer — we now return you to your regularly scheduled chilly weather gripes and grumbles.