mosquito control

Do Raindrops Kill Mosquitoes?

Splish Splat? Why Raindrops Don't Kill Mosquitoes

From NPR

Its the kind of question that is typicall reserved for the existentially minded thinker, but it is a fascinating rumination nonetheless.  Why don't raindrops kill mosquitoes?  This post from NPR presents the answer, utilizing high speed video to show what actually happens when a mosquito encounters a raindrop.  The result is probably not what you would expect, but it does present some interesting dynamics in the area of nanotechnology.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Imagine how tough life would be if raindrops weighed 3 tons apiece as they fell out of the sky at 20 mph. That's how raindrops look to a mosquito, yet a raindrop weighing 50 times more than one can hit the insect and the mosquito will survive.

How?

Put yourself in a mosquito's shoes — or rain boots — for a moment and step outside into a downpour of seemingly gigantic raindrops.

"They're basically plummeting comets falling all around you," says David Hu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. You'd think a mosquito wouldn't stand a chance. "We expected the similar thing to happen as when you drive your car through bugs — you see this bug just splattering."

Yet mosquitoes clearly survive close encounters with raindrops. So Hu's group set out to run an experiment that made the most of their skills as mechanical engineers and biologists.

"Hitting a mosquito with a raindrop is a difficult experiment," he says. "The first thing we did was drop small drops from the third floor story of our building onto a container of mosquitoes, and you can imagine that didn't go very well. It's kind of like playing the worst game of darts you can imagine."

Click here to read the entire post

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