Scientists may have come up with a better mousetrap when it comes to repelling mosquitoes.
The gold standard has been DEET, but now U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers at the University of Florida say they've identified 23 different compounds that work as well as, or better than, DEET.
It turns out that seven are the most promising, and are chemical cousins of a compound called piperidine, which is the same compound that gives black pepper its kick. In the lab, anyway, that mixture kept working for 73 days.
Scientists say this new compound could work wherever mosquitoes roam. They can fly as far as 30 miles over the open ocean, and they can smell people from 50 yards away.
I bet you didn't know this: Mosquitoes love socks and Limburger cheese — and the main ingredient in that cheese is the same bacterium that grows on our feet.
Figuring out how well these compounds work means researchers have to stick their arms into plastic boxes packed with hundreds — sometimes thousands — of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, and they just get bitten.