7 On Your Side

Can a fan really keep mosquitoes at bay?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Can a slight breeze really protect you from mosquitoes and West Nile Virus? That's the claim being made on the Internet, so 7 On Your Side put it to the test.

It seems too easy -- just set up a fan and mosquitoes can't bite you. Really? Let's find out.

When you have a beautiful day to hang out in your backyard talking with friends, you don't want some unwanted guests show up -- mosquitos!

In our test there were no mosquitoes actually biting our guests or flying around, but there were mosquitoes. They were brought to our party by Deborah Bass from the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District. She showed us mosquitoes up close and gave our group here a quick lesson on mosquitoes.

"The males they don't bite us, just the females. They need the blood for their eggs," said Bass.

7 On Your Side asked her to either confirm or dispel an Internet mosquito hack. Online there are people who swear that you can keep mosquitoes away with a simple household fan. Is that true?

"When you have that direct wind on you mosquitoes have a hard time flying in that really strong wind, so a brisk breeze is really the key. Also the mosquitoes finds us by how we smell and the carbon dioxide that we breathe. So with all that wind on us it gets confused and pretty much stays out of the area. It doesn't know where to find us," said Bass.

So it does work, but with the risk of West Nile Virus and other diseases carried by mosquitos, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommends the use of three repellents.

"One has the ingredient DEET in it, one has Picaridin, which comes from the pepper plant and this is the lemon of oil eucalyptus. This is what the CDC recommends for all of us to wear," said Bass.

The bigger the fan you use and the smaller the area that you're trying to keep mosquitos away from, the better your chances of keeping them away. It turns out many mosquitoes are not very good fliers so just a little bit of wind throws them off and you can use that against them.

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west nile virus, 7 on your side, michael finney
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