When it comes to protecting yourself from mosquitoes at your next garden party, there might be one deterrent you’re not thinking of – blasting Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Spirits at full volume all night.
According to researchers in Malaysia and Thailand, it works as a bizarre form of annoyance for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. The present study was performed to examine whether electronic music influences the foraging activity, blood feeding and mating successes of the dengue vector.
If you haven’t listened to Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, you’re in for a treat. Released in 2010, it’s a mix of samples, noise, and bass drops that epitomises the dubstep music genre of that era.
The researchers found that it took significantly longer for female mosquitoes to feed; they also fed less, and had much less sex when the dubstep hit was playing, compared to times when no music was playing at all.
“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.”
Mucking up the insects’ ability to hear these tones can change mating and feeding behaviors, which could have an impact on how mosquitoes interact with humans and spread diseases.
So although these sorts of lighthearted studies come across as entertaining, the research is important. With many insect populations currently appearing to be in decline in many parts of the world.
And mosquito borne infection rates likely to be affected by climate change, we need all the information we can gather on helping – or deterring – the bugs we share the planet with.