It’s official: Zika-carrying mosquitoes have reached U.S. shores. Not only do you have to worry about possibly contracting the illness from other carriers, but now you can get it from the bugs themselves. But even if you’re not worried about getting Zika — or West Nile, chikungunya, malaria, or any number of other mosquito-born diseases — there’s the simple fact that the bloodsuckers are pretty much the most rotten insects ever to have existed thanks to their annoying buzzing and ridiculously itchy bites. Basically, we all have good reason to want the best, most effective mosquito repellent.
Well, I have good news for anyone who wants a highly effective mosquito repellent and also doesn’t want to smell like they’ve been deep woods camping for the last week. Victoria’s Secret Bombshell perfume is nearly as effective as the most hardcore DEET-containing repellents, according to a super-weird but also super-helpful study published in the Journal of Insect Science. The perfume repelled over 80 percent of mosquitoes, working nearly as well as sprays that contain 7 percent DEET. Bombshell worked way better than Avon Bug Guard and many all-natural insect repellents.
Originally, the researchers included it somewhat as a joke. They told NPR they included it as a control, as they assumed mosquitoes would be attracted to the flowery scent. It turns out the bugs hated it with a passion. (Can’t say I entirely disagree, which might be the first time in my life I’ve ever been on the same side as a mosquito.) Unfortunately, we don’t know why it works, exactly, because the company won’t say what’s in the secret formulation.
“It’s probably composed of dozens of secret ingredients, and maybe one or two of them are repellents,” Stacy Rodriguez, the lead researcher, said in an interview. “We don’t know what the active agent is.”
But hey, if it works, it works! Dousing yourself in Bombshell is better than wearing a mosquito net everywhere and is probably better than bathing in DEET, a known neurotoxin. And the idea of having a perfume double as an insect repellent seems like a brilliant marketing idea.