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A Simple Way to Repel Mosquitoes: Try a Fan

Posted By Candy Sagon On July 17, 2013 @ 8:00 am In Health Talk | Comments Disabled

If you don’t like those stinky bug sprays with DEET, but you also don’t like being a mosquito mosquito closeup [1]buffet, here’s a simple, low-tech, no-chemical way to deter those little suckers from your backyard: An electric fan.

I couldn’t believe it either, but a 2003 Michigan State University study [2] found that a fan blowing air can mess up mosquitoes’ flying ability. It also helps blow away the carbon dioxide we humans exude, which apparently attracts mosquitoes [3] like frat boys to free beer.

New York Times writer William Broad provided anecdotal evidence of how well a fan works when he recently wrote [4] that a small electric fan on the table at a Fourth of July backyard barbecue kept him, his wife and their friends from getting a single mosquito bite.

“That was it. No citronella candles, no bug zappers, no DEET, nothing expensive or high-tech. Yet amazingly, it worked,” Broad wrote.

The American Mosquito Control Association, a nonprofit science and education group, has similar advice, Broad noted. On the group’s website [5], it explains that “mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers [only 1 to 1.5 mph], so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution.”

The Michigan State entomologists tested electric fans with mosquito traps set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Michigan wetland. The traps used carbon dioxide to attract the mosquitoes, but the wind from the fans “strongly reduced” the number caught, the scientists wrote.

They recommended that fans — set on medium or high — would be a practical way of keeping mosquitoes away from people and pets in the backyard, the Times reported [6].

If that doesn’t appeal to you, there’s always the old Italian folktale that if you sleep in a room with a pig, you’re less likely to be bitten because the pig’s higher body temperature is a more attractive lure for the insects. Or so reports Rodale.com [7]. (To be fair, the site also suggests using fans.) [8]

Photo: Ivan Kmit/Alamy


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Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/07/17/a-simple-way-to-repel-mosquitoes-try-a-fan/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/240-mosquito-fans-repel-mosquitos.jpg

[2] 2003 Michigan State University study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14596273

[3] attracts mosquitoes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8894291

[4] he recently wrote: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/science/a-low-tech-mosquito-deterrent.html?_r=0

[5] group’s website: http://www.mosquito.org/faq

[6] Times reported: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/13real.html?ref=health

[7] Rodale.com: http://www.rodale.com/chemical-free-mosquito-control?page=0,1

[8] suggests using fans.): http://www.rodale.com/chemical-free-mosquito-control?page=0,0

[9] Cheap, Easy Tips for Keeping Mosquitoes Away: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/08/06/cheap-easy-tips-for-keeping-mosquitos-away/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[10] West Nile Virus: If You’re Over 50, Your Risk Is Higher: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/08/23/west-nile-virus-outbreak-if-youre-over-50-your-risk-is-higher/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[11] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[12] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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