Eau de repellent? Victoria's Secret perfume turns off mosquitoes

Victoria's Secret perfume may not attract everyone. Their Bombshell Eau de Parfum may even repel some.

Mosquitoes, that is.

Researchers from New Mexico State University tested leading brands of bug spray as well as a couple of bath oil and perfume products to see whether they attracted or fended off mosquitoes.

For the experiment, they used two common mosquito species: the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, both known to transmit dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and other diseases.

One of the study authors (who was found to be a strong attractor of mosquitoes during preliminary studies) placed one sprayed hand and one gloved hand into separate ports. The mosquitoes, which were being kept in a holding tube, were then released into the ports. The researchers said the bugs flew toward the bare hand if they were attracted to the scent, but if repelled, they fluttered to the opposite tube or did not move around.

The scientists took measurements over time in order to see which repellents lasted the longest, and found that the products containing DEET (chemical name: N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) were the most effective at keeping mosquitoes off. DEET-free repellents containing citronella and geraniol were not as effective.

Lead author Stacy Rodriguez, a research assistant in NMSU's Molecular Vector Physiology Lab, also wanted to see what would happen when someone spritzed on a flowery perfume.

"There was some previous literature that said fruity, floral scents attracted mosquitoes, and to not wear those," Rodriguez said in a press statement.

But it turned out Victoria's Secret Bombshell Eau de Parfum had the opposite effect: it repelled mosquitoes "quite effectively" for two hours after it was applied.

"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," Rodriguez said.

However, the DEET products still won out as the most effective option.

The authors said their perfume experiment challenges the notion that flowery fragrances entice mosquitoes and that it's possible some floral scents may actually mask a natural odor that draws the little nuisances to us.

They're now in the process of testing mosquito repellent bracelets and clip-on repellent devices and hope to publish their results in time for next mosquito season.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Insect Science.

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    Mary Brophy Marcus covers health and wellness for CBSNews.com