Repelling Mosquitoes -- What Really Works?

Might be time to add “battery-operated fan” to your camping supply list.

According to the New York Times, a recent study found that fan-generated wind was pretty effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay.  It works for two reasons:  1)  The force of the wind prevents the tiny bugs from being able to land, and 2) the air flow disperses exhaled carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes, as well as “sweat, lactic acid, and heat.”

The study, out of Michigan State University — a place that knows of mosquitoes — provides campers and other outdoor enthusiasts a chemical-free alternative to DEET and other toxic bug control methods.  But what if you’re into more than sitting around a campfire or enjoying adult beverages on the the patio?  You can’t exactly carry a fan with you through the forest, after all.

Jezebel has a great roundup of the current best methods for protecting yourself from mosquitoes, including:

  • DEET
  • other chemical repellents
  • citronella in its various forms
  • botanicals like geranium, lemongrass and cedar

DEET is, of course, the most effective, but it can also be toxic if use inappropriately and leaves you with that bug spray smell.  Several commenters noted that a new repellent chemical, Picaridin, works as well as DEET without the nastiness, and those of you that live in buggy areas already know that eliminating standing water — bird baths, etc. — from your yard can stop mosquitoes from breeding there.

Mosquito season only lasts about two months where I live, so we get by with citronella candles unless we’re going into the woods.  But I might seriously consider packing a small fan to put near my older daughter when we go camping again.  If there’s a mosquito in a one mile radius, it’ll find her.

What’s your best mosquito control technique?

Article Posted 6 years Ago
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