September 7, 2016
With 17 new cases of locally transmitted Zika confirmed yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in Singapore to a whopping 275, many are seeking protection from the Aedes mosquitoes by sweeping repellents off the shelves. Plenty of mosquito repellents on the market contain chemicals such as DEET (diethyltoluamide), or strong-scented oil such as citronella. If you detest the smell of these current repellents, then you may want to consider this surprising substitute.
Led by a team of researchers from New Mexico State University (NMSU), a recent study published in the Journal of Insect Science revealed that the Bombshell perfume by Victoria’s Secret made a human test subject unattractive to Aedes mosquitoes for about two hours after its application. In the study, mosquitoes were placed in tubes that were filled with the scents of human volunteers, as well as the scents of the repellents. Unsurprisingly, repellents formulated with DEET were proven to be especially effective, whereas products containing alternative ingredients such as citronella or geraniol, were kind of a hit-or-miss in terms of their effectiveness.
We’re familiar with the fact that mosquitoes are attracted to sweet, fruity scents, which is why the results of their findings may come as a surprise. However, it’s important to note that the researchers used a fairly high concentration of the perfume in the experiment, so it’s definitely more than just a couple of regular spritzes. So, before you rush off to get yourself a bottle of Bombshell, bear in mind that a light mist of the fragrance may not yield the same masking results as the high dose applied onto the volunteer’s hand during the study. And it goes without saying but, no – dousing yourself in eau de parfum is not a good idea.
Until scientists have figured out a way to build an invisible shield against mozzies, we’ll just have to make do with every other form of insect repellent.