July 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM ET
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?
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.