Ah, Mosquito Week, when every post seems to take two very itchy days to compose. 🙂 Is it Thanksgiving yet?
If you live in the area, the programs at Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary are hard to beat. We moved away from Massachusetts in 2013, and my daughter and I *still* miss Moose Hill.
Every class includes a nature hike, and as I foolishly thought I could get away with using an all-natural non-toxic bug repellant this fall (picture the fleece and knit equivalent of a full haz-mat suit), a few hardy buzzers have found her.
One day as we were walking back to the car after a class on turkeys, she asked, “Mommyo, why are girl mosquitoes silent? And why do boy mosquitoes buzz?”
This was the first I’d ever heard of such a thing, so naturally I had to ask the iPhone.
Why are girl mosquitoes silent?
It’s not clear that this little piece of folklore is true.
In my search, I found a few passing references to the opposite being true–male mosquitoes don’t buzz, while females do. But as that buzzing sound is produced by the beating of mosquito wings, I can’t understand how that could be true. Both male and female mosquitoes fly, don’t they?
Apparently, some mosquitoes can change the sound their wings make while flying
The only source I found in my quick search that I really trusted on the topic, Discover Magazine’s Science for the Curious blog, says that both male and female mosquitoes buzz, and that they can adjust the speed of their wings to change the pitch of their buzz to create a sweet (to their ears) harmony during mating.
Researchers are apparently trying to find ways to control the mosquito population by releasing a swarm of sweet-sounding sterile studs to fool the blood-sucking females. We here at Caterpickles Central wish them the best of luck.
- “Perfect Storm for Mosquitoes” Continues After Hurricane Irene (prweb.com)
- “Do mosquitoes migrate?” (caterpickles.com)
- “Why are mosquito bites little red bumps?” (caterpickles.com)
- Male and female mosquitoes buzz in harmony to create a sweet love song (Discover Magazine)