Wind and mosquitoes
- 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.)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.
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
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.
(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