Are mosquitoes putting a damper on your backyard barbecue? Tired of slapping yourself silly every time you hit the deck? The American Mosquito Control Association suggests a simple electric fan mounted behind your outdoor relaxation spot repels mosquitoes better than most chemical, UV or ultrasonic bug repellents.
That's right, an unmodified electric fan has more than enough power to bow those pesky bugs away before they can turn your summer leisure break into a literal vortex of suck. “Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers,” advises the AMCA, “so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution.”
Mosquitoes fly at relatively slow speeds – approximately 1 to 1.5 mph – and they can't make headway against air blown at 15 mph by an average electric fan. Not to channel Billy Mays here BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: mosquitoes find their food sources (aka you, your family, friends and pets) by following the plumes of carbon dioxide all oxygen-breathers exhale. A fan will efficiently disperse those CO2 plumes and leave the skeeters with nothing to home in on.
Scientists from the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National Library of Medicine have actually tested this theory, using a variable-speed fan and CO2 traps. In a 2003 study titled “Reassessment of the role and utility of wind in suppression of mosquito” published in The Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers stated unequivocally that “Electric fan-generated wind strongly reduced mosquito catches.” The report's conclusion was even more to the point: “We recommend that fan-generated wind should be pursued as a practical means of protecting humans or pets from mosquitoes in the backyard setting.”
So next time you decide to host a backyard BBQ or just want to enjoy twilight's last gleaming without feeding the airborne wildlife, bring a fan out with you and turn that mechanical sucker loose... it's a proven way to turn those organic suckers into losers! (via NYT and Houston CultureMap, images via Nat'l Library of Medicine and Max Pixel)
*** UPDATED on February 9th, 2019 ***