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Recently I've noticed that it's significantly easier for me to catch a mosquito with my hand if my hand is very wet (e.g. from having washed my hands and not yet dried them, or from being in the shower).

It seems as though when my hand is dry it creates a cushion of air which pushes the mosquito out of my grasp as I close my fingers, and it seems that for some reason that doesn't happen to nearly the same extent (if at all) when my hand is wet. I also wonder if having my hands covered in a mix of water and soap might produce a stronger effect, although I haven't tried this enough to say for sure.

It seems likely to be some interaction between the water and the air, but I'm wondering if any physicists could provide more information.

Alternatively, maybe it's just that the mosquito is briefly sticking to my hand if it makes contact with my hand when my hand is wet, which is giving my hand enough time to close around the mosquito?

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I would guess that this has nothing to do with aerodynamics, and what you're actually seeing is that a mosquito can bounce off a dry hand, but sticks to a wet hand.

You can test this but smearing a glue stick all over your hands, and then trying to catch some mosquitoes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Surface tension of water is probably better even than a glue stick. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 13 at 17:48

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