They say music has charms to soothe the savage beast, and most people would agree mosquitoes are savage.
Researchers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand found that electronic music — specifically dubstep and more specifically “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex — discouraged mosquitoes from visiting, feeding and copulating.
The scientists, who specialize in mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, subjected one group of adult Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquitoes) to Skrillex’s song and left another group in a quiet environment.
“Sound and its reception are crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published recently in the journal Acta Tropica. “In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics (members of the same species) and hosts.”
Females who were “entertained” with the music were slower to attack hosts, and all adults copulated much less than their counterparts when the music played.
“The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding, and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases,” the scientists wrote.
Mosquitoes generally become active when the temperature reaches 50 degrees. In Georgia, that means you can expect to appear in April.
Even though there are 176 known species in the U.S., there are only three in Georgia. One of those is the yellow fever mosquito from the Skrillex study. The other two are Culex and the Anopheles.
Atlanta often tops Orkin’s annual list of mosquito cities, and cases of West Nile have increased each year.
In 2017, for example, Georgia had 47 human cases, including seven deaths, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. That’s up from seven human cases and no confirmed deaths related to West Nile virus in 2016.
The best way to prevent mosquito-related diseases, of course, is to avoid being bitten.
Here are some ways to prevent mosquito bites:
- Use EPA-approved insect repellant (DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 and more)
- Grow these seven mosdquito-repelling plants in your garden.
- Eliminate larval habitats in your yards, landscapes to reduce mosquito populations.
- Wear light-colored clothing.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.
And blast “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” during your next barbecue.
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