Wind As a Mosquito Repellent
Despite its reputation as a mosquito repellent, wind can actually interfere with a mosquito’s ability to fly. While some mosquitoes have special adaptations to fly in windy conditions, others have less capacity to fly.
Adult flight activity is generally limited to 1-3 mph, with a threshold based on temperature, humidity, and species. Wind can interfere with mosquitoes’ flight by diluting attractants, decreasing the number of mosquitoes caught, and decreasing the distance that they can travel.
In the study, researchers used an air filter and a large fan to create an artificial wind. They then placed a test subject 1.6 meters downwind from the fan. The researcher measured the number of mosquitoes on the test subject and then counted the number of mosquitoes that attempted to feed.
The research also compared the flight distances of several mosquito species. They discovered that some species tend to fly long distances in windy weather, while others have a lesser flight threshold. They also discovered that malaria-bearing mosquitoes can fly as far as 290 meters above the ground.
Despite the effectiveness of wind as a repellent, it is not recommended for use near bodies of water due to possible environmental contamination. Adulticiding is also illegal in areas where wind speeds exceed 10mph.
Wind also affects the ability of some mosquito species to find food. They avoid places with wind speeds that are close to their own flying speeds. They also tend to avoid areas with dense vegetation, which could act as a barrier between humans and potential breeding sites.