The Science of Mosquito Abatement
With recent potentially fatal viruses found in Florida to the infamous West Nile virus, mosquitos can pose a serious threat to humans and animals alike. Efforts at controlling mosquitos have evolved over the years, ranging from spraying solutions on your skin to bug-zapping outdoor lights.
However, there are some environmental factors to consider when you’re trying your best to avoid mosquitos. Unfortunately, some of us are more attractive to mosquitos than others---but keeping your eye on the elements can help you avoid these insects flocking to you for a fabulous feast.
Wind as a Mosquito Repellent
Studies show that mosquitoes may be attracted to lactic acid and carbon dioxide from humans. This is released when we breathe and sweat. While mosquitoes are not blind, they rely heavily on the sense of smell to detect lactic acid and carbon dioxide. They can even sense the presence of a host via thermal cues.
When tested during a laboratory study at Michigan State University, it concluded that wind helped to repel mosquitoes when combined with DEET (a chemical mosquito repellant).
Wind works as a natural mosquito repellant because it makes it difficult for these insects to fly. If wind speeds are greater than 10 MPH, mosquitoes generally can’t fly. Keep in mind that they can only fly around 1-3 mph, so a 10 MPH wind gust is substantial.
Without the ability to fly, it’s much more difficult for mosquitoes to track you down and bite you. Air turbulence is typically the greatest during the day, but an electric fan can help create a strong breeze to keep the mosquitoes away in isolated conditions such as sitting on a patio.
Other Environmental Factors
In addition to the wind, there are other weather-related factors that impact mosquito activity. Some mosquitoes like temperatures as hot as 97 to 104 degrees F. Humidity levels that mosquitoes like range from 70% to 80%.
While we can’t control the weather, we often turn to abatement crisis techniques to take care of infestations. Spraying is an effective solution but weather and the elements must be considered for best results.
What You Should Know About Mosquito Spraying
When it comes to mosquito infestations, you may need to turn to sprays and pesticides to destroy colonies. During an abatement crisis, spraying is often the end result of an integrated plan to mosquito abatement, including disease testing and public education. Sprays can be effective when applied via truck or airplane, but environmental conditions are an important part of the equation.
Yet again, wind speed and direction plays a role of the success in mosquito spraying. Product spray floats in the air and needs some wind to carry it through to the target area. Without any wind at all, the spraying will be less effective. Winds that are too high will carry the spray too quickly through the area while also reducing effectiveness. Winds higher than 10MPH will affect the success of spraying.
Implementing Mosquito Abatement with Kestrel Weather Meters
How do you have the best results with mosquito abatement, especially in terms of weather? Consider weather trackers such as the Kestrel Kestrel 1000 Wind Meter, Kestrel 2000 Wind and Temperature Meter, and Kestrel 5500 Weather Meter. These units offer a range of highly accurate weather tracking, including wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and humidity. Also available is data logging, allowing you to analyze and save trends that can provide clues for mosquito activity in your area.