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Use Air Currents to Deter Pests – Advice From the Pros

By Chris Williams on February 11, 2012.

There’s one simple pest control method that you can do yourself at home. It doesn’t use pesticides, it doesn’t require any special application training, nor any specialized equipment. It doesn’t take long to use and all it costs is a few pennies in electricity. I’m talking about use of a fan – rotating, oscillating, pedestal fan, box fan, your choice. There are many times when using a fan, or a series of fans, can easily eliminate a pest problem either by preventing the pests from flying or by drying out the moist sites that they need.

fanThink about it. Grocery stores, warehouses, and other commercial sites use air doors or air curtains at doorways and other entrance points to keep flying insects out. The strong blast of air outcompetes their ability to fly. You can use the same concept when you’re entertaining or just sitting outside. Strategically placed pedestal or other fans can be used outdoors on decks or patios to keep mosquitoes and other biting flies away. You may need at least a couple of fans pointing in different directions, depending on how large the area is that you need to protect. Or, if you have a buffet table set up outside, place a small rotating fan at the end of the table. The slight breeze will keep nuisance flies and yellowjackets from landing on food or surfaces. The cooling air movement of fans used outside makes people feel more comfortable as well.

Remember—although fans can keep flies from landing on surfaces or people, they are not solving the fly problem. Flies will continue to breed unless you or a pest control professional finds the source of the problem and eliminates or treats it.

fruit-flyMany moisture-loving pests indoors can only survive in a damp environment. For these specific pests, pesticides are rarely needed. If you dry out the too-damp site, the pests will die or leave. For example, fans can help eliminate some fruit fly problems by drying out scummy, moist breeding sites in hard-to-reach areas like under a refrigerator. Fans are usually all that is needed to eliminate a springtail infestation under a sink or in other damp areas. These insects cannot survive once their environment dries out. You can discourage occasional home invaders like millipedes and camel crickets that require moist sites by placing fans in laundry rooms and basement areas where they congregate.

Many pests of new construction, such as fungus beetles and mold, will be eliminated once the green lumber and damp wallboard dry out. Heat and air circulation are two ways to do that. Turning on your house A/C or heat, using a house fan, and adding other fans will speed the drying process in a new home.

Fans won’t work to control all pests. But if it’s a small flying insect or a pest that requires a damp site, a fan may be all that you need to solve the problem.

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