Did you know that some people in the world are more tasty to mosquitoes than other? This and other fascinating facts have been found by studying the field of biomimicry. Many of the cosmetic and personal care products you use everyday came as a result of studying nature. Here’s a story about research on a brand new insect repellant. These scientists really crack me up. Listen to what they did.
First, they convinced people to volunteer to be exposed to hundreds of mosquitoes. (Some people will do anything for a buck). They created this Y-shaped chamber and had two volunteers place a hand under one of the opening. The itch-inducing insects then flew down the chamber looking for some blood to suck. It turns out that mosquitoes really do prefer some people over others. And the reason is related to the different chemicals you naturally produce in your sweat.
After identifying the lucky people who were distasteful to mosquitoes, the researchers then collected their sweat and isolated the key repellant chemicals. My favorite part, they attached tiny electrodes to the mosquito’s antennae. Can you imagine trying to put an electrode on a mosquito?
Through this research, the scientists created a new, natural insect repellant that the rest of us can use. They are waiting for a patent to be granted before they tell the Beauty Brains and the world what chemical they use, but soon it will be found in sprays, lotions and creams just like DEET.
For years people have been trying to find alternatives to DEET. Forget what you’ve heard about natural ingredients like Citronella or Beautyberry, they don’t work very well. Right now, DEET-containing products are the only thing that is really effective for everyone. But DEET has some issues so scientists have continued to study insects to find better alternatives. It looks like by collecting sweat and strapping electrodes on mosquitoes, they’ve finally come up with something that works.