Posted by Fazal Imtiaz

Humidity And Pests

Ticks and mosquitoes thrive in humid conditions.  The drying effects of the sun are dangerous to both types of insects.  Ticks, which are arachnids, are especially susceptible to air humidity as they are unable to drink water and receive moisture entirely from the air. An in depth study found that the survival rates of ticks drops off significantly between 75% and 82% relative humidity.  Ticks exposed to drier (75% RH) air for over four hours were over nine times more likely to die than ticks exposed to more humid (82% RH) air for the same time period.    This explains why tick populations drop off in dry conditions.  Other humidity variances showed further drops in survival rates but this 7% shift was by far the most severe.  Ticks can live for years and will seek refuge in dark wet areas such as under dead leaves.  Ticks will stay away from large grassy fields but can survive indefinitely in forests containing a thick tree cover.

An inch of standing water is the absolute best condition for a mosquito population.  This is the state of water needed for female mosquitoes to lay eggs.  They can lay 50-300 eggs at a time.  Female conditions will pick the edges of ponds and lakes but another perfect setting is a wheelbarrow left outside or a stack of old tires.  Most American properties are small and well kept, but larger yards in rural areas are more prone to have man-made conditions female mosquitoes love.

Mostquitoes can die when exposed to direct sunlight for as little as one minute.  They also hate wind as it knocks their flimsy frames around and distorts the fragrances emitted by their pray.  The prime time of day for mosquitoes to come out and feed starts around 20 minutes before sunset and lasts for approximately 2.5 hours.