Mosquitoes may not be the biggest fans of electronic music but will the polarizing music genre prevent them from biting, as one study suggests? Probably not, expert says.
A group of Malaysian researchers published a study in Acta Tropica, a journal focusing on infectious diseases, declaring that Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” caused mosquitoes to reproduce less and bite less.
The mosquitoes exposed to the 2010 hit single “visited the host significantly less often” and “copulated far less often” than the group that was left in a non-music environment, according to the study, which based their theory on the way sound and low vibrations affect a mosquito’s habits.
“When I listen to the song, I must say, I can understand why that is,” Dr. Bart Knols joked in an interview with InsideEdition.com. “It’s quite a dramatic song.”
Knols, a medical antimologist of Radboud University in The Netherlands, believes the mosquitoes may react not due to their feelings about the artist or song choice but because “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” includes a range of tones and sounds, one of which most likely induce a response.
“For instance, we know that mosquitoes, when they mate and the male and female come close to each other, their wing beats are actually going to the same level and they produce the same tone,” Knols said. “So if, in the song, you hit that same tone, it is not surprising that you will have an influence somehow on the mating behavior.”
However, he said he doesn’t quite believe scientists are able to control mosquitoes using noise.
Knols emphasized that despite this new study that says this particular song may affect mosquito behavior, “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” or any other sound that people claim repel mosquitoes, will not provide adequate defense against bites, especially when it comes to parts of the world where malaria, dengue and West Nile virus are present.
“They deliver false protection to people that are using them, which is, in my view, ethically unacceptable,” he explained. “There’s a whole suite of diseases that mosquitoes have. There is malaria, which is annually causing more than 2 million cases and close to half a million deaths.”
As we approach the summer months, Knols recommends that everyone should clean up mosquito breeding grounds, install screens on their windows and lather on bug repellent when planning to spend time outdoors.
“Look around the house for potential breeding sites – the old bucket behind the barn that has rain water, that’s your breeding site. Clear the gutters around the house,” he said. “Second, you can install window screens and put a net over your bed to put a physical barrier between yourself and the mosquitoes.
“And then for the few hours you’re sitting outside in the evening, that’s when you start using your skin repellent to protect yourself,” he said.
In terms of playing Skrillex’s hit on repeat around the campfire, “[It] is going to bring some fun to the people listening to the song, but whether it is going to protect themselves against the mosquito bites, I don’t think so.”