A few weeks ago, I sat and had dinner on my back deck at our new house out in the boonies, and it was the first 70 degree day this year. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, had a couple cocktails, and really just relaxed. The next weekend came along, and we were so enthralled with the time we had the weekend before, we headed out to the deck again to eat. Bad idea.

The black flies were absolutely unbearable. I don't even think we got into our seats. And just the last several days, as the black flies seem to be ramping up to fever pitch, I heard a familiar sound that I had sort of forgotten about. A mosquito, doing it's little high-pitched whine in my ear. Don't worry, he's dead now.

So here we are, and not only have the black flies decided to move in, the skeeters are right behind them, ready to wreak havoc on bare flesh everywhere. An article caught my eye at NPR.com, that listed the best mosquito repellents you can buy.

A research group from New Mexico State University, tested 10 different repellents and a control group with no repellent at all, to see which had the greatest effectiveness. I won't bore you with anything out of the top 5, because who cares? Here they are from most effective, to least:

  1. OFF Deep Woods insect repellent VIII - 25% DEET
  2. Cutter lemon eucalyptus insect repellent
  3. Repel 100 insect repellent - 98.11% DEET
  4. Cutter Skinsations insect repellent - 7.0% DEET
  5. Victoria's Secret Bombshell

Obviously, the evidence points to DEET being the big winner. Maybe it's because mosquitoes "smell" DEET with their legs, so it's probably a mega-turnoff... smelling it with six noses instead of one.

The other odd ones were the lemon eucalyptus oil, and the Victoria's Secret perfume. Researchers thought the perfume would actually attract bugs because of it's floral scent, but it drove them away. Huh. Mosquitoes and I actually agree on one thing.

There were a bunch of natural remedies that didn't cut the mustard either. And of course the old standby of Avon Skin-So-Soft was basically useless. Which is funny, because my mom used to slather us in so much Skin-So-Soft, that we looked like bodybuilders in a flexing contest.

But researchers were quick to point out, more isn't necessarily better. Their advice was to follow the instructions on the product as they describe. No need to bathe in it. A lot of times, it's better to put on a thin, even layer, and reapply more often, if necessary. Instead of trying to fog yourself a suit made out of DEET.

But, there you have it. You can now run out and stock up on whatever works best for you. I find the best method of repelling mosquitoes, is having a beer and looking out my window, watching the neighbor kid I just paid to mow the lawn. Not one bite, and it works every time.