BoatingLAB takes a scientific approach to testing insect repellants.
You are a baby boomer if you remember the first bug-spray commercial. It aired in 1960 and featured a lab technician thrusting his arm in a glass chamber of hundreds of mosquitoes. They were on him like stink on skunks. After a spritz of Off, the tech reached in again and the vermin were held at bay. DEET, an acronym for a chemical name you’ll never remember, was the active ingredient, and today it is still king in keeping mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers and just about any biting bug away. But it is the new millennium, and chemical-conscious people resist applying things to their skin. So 60 years later, has science developed new techniques to keep bugs away? That was our question, and our test was simple. We took each of these devices into buggy territory and made ourselves bait.