The claim: To repel mosquitoes, use a house fan.
The Facts: The battle against mosquitoes is often fought with chemical repellents. Some of the popular choices are highly effective, but can be toxic, smelly and irritating.
For those who prefer a chemical-free repellent, a plain and simple house fan just might do the trick.
Studies have found that wind is an effective method to keep mosquitoes and other airborne pests at bay. The reason seems obvious: It prevents them from circling and landing on you, like a windstorm keeping a plane from its descent.
However, that is not entirely the case. A fan dilutes and disperses the carbon dioxide you exhale. Carbon dioxide is one of the major chemicals that attract mosquitoes, the wind form a fn also cools you. Sweat, lactic acid and body heat attract mosquitoes - factors that a fan can help minimize.
In one study in 2003, entommologists at Michigan State University used traps set up in a wetland by the United States Centers for Disease Control to attract mosquitoes. Releasing carbon dioxide attracted more pests to the trap. The more the carbon dioxide, the more mosquitoes were caught.
Using fan-generated wind of various speeds helped keep them away. But there was no link between wind velocity and mosquito body mass.
“We recommend that fan-generated wind should be pursued as a practical means of protecting humans or pets against mosquitoes in the backyard setting,” they wrote.
For an indoor setting, a fan on medium of high sped should do the job.
The Bottom Line: Using a fan can ward off mosquitoes.
- The New York Times