mosquito bites

The best mosquito repellent ever is something you already own!

July 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM ET

mosquito bites
Ryan Lebel Photography/Flickr Open/Getty Images /
mosquito bites

We have amazing news for you: the best mosquito repellent out there may not be anything high-tech, nor any potent chemical, but a simple oscillating fan.

If you, like this author, are prone to draw the bites of seemingly every mosquito within a 100-mile radius when you innocently sit outside to enjoy a summer night, you know you'd gladly summon any modern technology—at almost any cost—to make. The attacks. Stop!

Fortunately the answer may be far simpler. A New York Times reporter discovered the fans' effectiveness at a summer barbecue and traced the idea back to Frank Swift, president of Swift Food Equipment Inc. in Philadelphia. Swift told the Times, “The solution came from trying to think like a bug, and realizing I don’t like flying into a 15 m.p.h. wind.”

The American Mosquito Control Association supports the notion, noting on its website, “Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers, so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution."

Mosquitoes may further be deterred by a fan because it "disperses the human emanations" that allow mosquitoes to target us, according to science cited by the Times.

And who wouldn't love a pleasant breeze as a bonus while enjoying an alfresco meal—versus a sticky coating of Deet?

So what are you waiting for? Grab that fan and head outside for dinner tonight!

What's the most effective mosquito deterrent you've ever tried?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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