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Wind and mosquitoes

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  • John Ladd
    Many of us have observed the following about mosquitoes: 1) While you walk, even at modest speeds, the skeeters stay away. As soon as you stop, you are
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 13 11:08 AM
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      Many of us have observed the following about mosquitoes:

      1) While you walk, even at modest speeds, the skeeters stay away.  As soon as you stop, you are covered.  (I most often notice this when I stop to replace my boots with my Crocs for stream crossing.)

      2) Choosing a campsite with even a slight breeze will reduce mosquitoes relative to one with still air.  I.e., chose a site on a slight rise rather than a sheltered one, especially when near water

      I had always thought that this was because even modest wind speeds exceeded the maximum flying speed of a mosquito.  E.g., you just walked through the mosquitoes on trail and the wind in a campsite just blew them downwind from you.

      But a new study by scientists at my alma mater (Michigan State) leads to the conclusion that a breeze (or, presumably, walking speed) just dissipates the carbon dioxide you exhale and, since CO2 is a mosquito attractant, you get fewer skeeters.  Same result as we previously thought, but for a different reason.

      Reassessment of the role and utility of wind in suppression of mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) host finding: stimulus dilution supported over flight limitation. Hoffmann EJ, Miller JR. J Med Entomol. 2003 Sep;40(5):607-14.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14596273

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14596273

      Go Spartans!

      (PS: I wasn't doing research - the study was just noted in a NY Times article today and I followed it down to the source.)

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279

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