Repelling mosquitoes is big business, with dozens of sprays, diffusers, traps and other products designed specifically to keep these insects off you. Considering how annoying (and potentially dangerous) mosquito bites can be, it’s hardly surprising that there are so many options for keeping them away!
Some methods work better than others, however, with sprays containing pesticides such as DEET and picaridin often reported to work best. Applying chemicals to your skin and home isn’t for everyone though, and some of you may balk at the idea of using potentially-hazardous substances around your kids and pets.
Natural remedies for repelling mosquitoes typically contain blends of essential oils formulated to keep the insects at bay. One new alternative has everyone buzzing, however, and that’s the use of sound – or, more specifically, music!
One widely-shared scientific study has made an extraordinary claim. That playing Skrillex’s music can repel mosquitoes. But is it fact or pseudo-science? Read on to find out!
Can Skrillex’s music repel mosquitoes?
Rumor has it that blasting Skrillex’s tracks can be enough to effectively cleanse your environment of bloodsuckers, with no need for chemical sprays, essential oils or traps. Keeping mosquitoes away with the mere use of sound would be an incredibly easy and entirely natural way of preventing bites. It sounds too good to be true – so, is it? Let’s check out the facts.
The scientific study, published in the Acta Tropical journal, claims that playing Skrillex’s music can reduce both biting and mating activity among Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (a major vector for the dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika viruses).
In this study, a hoard of hungry mosquitoes was unleashed on an unsuspecting ‘host’ (in this case, a restrained hamster). Half of the mosquitoes were exposed to music from a nearby speaker – specifically, the track ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ by Skrillex. The other half of the bugs were left in silence. Scientists then observed the activity of the mosquitoes under both conditions to see how they reacted to the tune. And what did they find?
Surprisingly, the music had a noticeable effect on the behavior of the bugs. Female mosquitoes in the ‘Skrillex’ environment were found to attack and bite the hamster much later than the mosquitoes in the no-music environment. Mosquitoes in the music-on environment were also found to visit the host less often than the mosquitoes that were left to dine in peace. Finally, mosquitoes exposed to the Skrillex track also mated far less than mosquitoes in the no-music environment.
So, what does it all mean?
Basically, mosquitoes that were exposed to Skrillex’s music mated less, bit the hamster less frequently and engaged in feeding behavior far later than mosquitoes that were not exposed to the music. From these results, it may seem that ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ is a reliable way to reduce your chances of attack. But should you use this method to repel mosquitoes?
Although the science seems sound, playing Skrillex’s music is unlikely to protect you from attack by mosquitoes. Read on to find out why!
Should you use Skrillex’s music to repel mosquitoes and prevent bites?
Though the evidence seems to suggest that Skrillex’s tracks can keep mosquitoes away from you, this method is unlikely to prevent bites.
While it’s true that the music was found to reduce feeding activity among mosquitoes exposed to it, they still bit the host (albeit less regularly than usual). This means that you would probably still be bitten by mosquitoes even if you were to blast ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ on loop throughout the evening.
Basically, noise pollution isn’t worth the results. But is there ANY sound device out there that can effectively repel mosquitoes?
Can ultrasound devices repel mosquitoes?
The short answer is, no. Although ultrasonic devices (machines that emit a high-frequency noise that supposedly disgusts mosquitoes) have been around for decades, they are unlikely to work as a repellent.
The idea is wonderfully simple. Just switch on your ultrasound gadget (or even download an app straight to your phone) turn it on and bask in mosquito-free bliss. With no need for chemicals, sprays, traps or other equipment, the idea is a very attractive one.
Unfortunately, the unanimous opinion of scientists is that these devices are useless. If you’re serious about reducing your assault from mosquitoes, it’s best to save your money and spend it on other, more reliable control methods.
Methods for repelling mosquitoes that actually work
The good news is, there are dozens of alternative methods for repelling mosquitoes. The most effective of these are repellent sprays containing DEET or picaridin. These insecticide-based formulations can be applied directly to the skin and will repel mosquitoes and prevent bites for up to 8 hours.
If you prefer more natural methods of pest control, you can also turn to essential oils as a chemical-free alternative. Formulations containing lemon eucalyptus oil, thyme oil, and citronella oil have been scientifically proven to work effectively against biting insects. These botanical extracts can be incorporated into sprays and diffusers to keep your home a mosquito-free zone!
Creating a physical barrier against mosquitoes is another wonderfully simple and highly effective way of preventing bites. Wearing loose clothing that covers your arms and legs in the evening, and sleeping under a mosquito net, can be the perfect low-maintenance way to keep mosquitoes off you throughout the night.
The finding that Skrillex’s music can repel mosquitoes has inspired much debate about using sound to deter the world’s least favorite pest. Although the idea of a low-maintenance, chemical-free repellent is a highly attractive one, the sad truth is that music is not enough to protect you from bites.
Although the science suggests that blasting Skrillex’s dubstep sound can reduce both mating and biting activity of mosquitoes exposed to the music, it doesn’t render them completely inactive. This means that, though you may be bitten less frequently, you won’t escape attack altogether – a paltry pay-off for playing the same track on loop all night.
Instead, opt for repellent sprays containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Formulations containing these ingredients are highly effective for keeping biting insects at bay, allowing you to enjoy your evening in peace (and quiet!)