Electronic music could save you from mosquito bites

Published: April 11, 2019

an-electronic-music-concert Photo by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

What’s the latest buzz on preventing mosquito bites? Science says to crank up the tunes—specifically, Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.”

According to an article in the journal Acta Tropica, female mosquitoes that were “entertained” by the 2010 electronic dubstep hit visited their victim fewer times, were slower to attack, and copulated “far less often” than those that weren’t.

Mosquitoes rely on low-frequency vibrations to facilitate sexual activity, and the theory is that the song’s aggressive beats disrupted the bugs’ perception of signals from both potential mates and potential prey (in this case, one very unlucky hamster).

Aside from bringing Skrillex back into the headlines, this research could inspire new ways to combat serious diseases. The mosquitoes involved in the study were Aedes aegypti, one of the species primarily responsible for spreading dengue fever, Zika virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. You’re unlikely to find them in cottage country, but it’s not unheard of. In 2016, one adult Aedes aegypti was collected in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex County. It’s believed to be the first one found in Canada (yikes!).

It’s premature to ditch the bug spray and mosquito coils—and your neighbours on the lake might have feelings about you blasting EDM from your dock—but we’re excited about where this discovery could lead. How long before streaming services post mosquito-repellent playlists, or smart speakers provide critter control on demand?

 

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