Forget about coating yourself with DEET, turning on that bug zapper or buying one of those gas-powered, suction-enhanced instruments of mass annihilation. If you want to rid your yard of mosquitoes, the answer may be as simple as turning on a fan.
The New York Times reports on a study conducted by Michigan State University, which determined that a fan can be an effective tool against skeeters, though not for completely obvious reasons:
Studies have found that wind is an effective method against mosquitoes and other airborne pests. The reason seems obvious: it prevents them from circling and landing on you, like a windstorm keeping a plane from its descent. But that is not entirely the case. A fan dilutes and disperses the carbon dioxide you exhale. Carbon dioxide is one of the major chemicals that attract mosquitoes. The wind from a fan also cools you off. Sweat, lactic acid and body heat attract mosquitoes — factors that a fan can help minimize. …
Using fan-generated wind of various speeds helped keep them away. But there was no link between wind “velocity” and “mosquito body mass.”
So, go ahead and get a cheap fan and plug it in. No need for a bug zapper — unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys that crispifying sizzle and flash, that is.