Mosquitoes live in almost every warm part of the world, and during hot summers like ours, they become terrible as they bring bites and welts—and sometimes infectious diseases—to backyard barbeques. While the threat of mosquito-born malaria has largely been banished from the United States, other mosquito-born maladies like West Nile Virus and dengue fever have begun to appear in parts of our country. It’s no wonder then that there are many products available—from mosquito repellent coils to mosquito repellent outdoor lanterns—to help us avoid these buzzy summer spoilers.
With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know which products will actually work and be worth your hard-earned money. Is it a $10 spray? A $15 candle? A $74 light? A $160 bug zapper?
None other than the NY Times has opined on this issue, and this time the American paper-of-record offered a skeptical look at mosquito repellents and instead recommended a cheap trick: a common fan.
It turns out that a fan repels mosquitoes for two reasons: 1) mosquitoes will avoid flying into strong breezes and 2) strong breezes disperse the human scents that normally attract mosquitoes.
These reasons make sense, and the effectiveness of a fan in deterring mosquitoes has been supported by research conducted by Michigan State University’s Department of Entomology.
So while DEET, picardin and lemon-eucalyptus oil are still considered to be among the most effective repellents, you might find that the cheapest way to enjoy being outside this summer is to point a couple of fans where you plan to be and enjoy the breeze!
What cheap ways do you use to avoid mosquitoes? Share your tips in our Community Forum or in the comments below!
For more information on mosquitoes, their flying speeds and habits and mosquito deterrents, please visit the American Mosquito Control Association’s FAQ site at mosquito.com.