Mosquitos – the curse of the Finnish summer for anybody who ventures into the countryside.
But new research indicates that there is a simple way to keep these irritating insects away: play or listen to music by Sibelius!
A research project under controlled conditions involving 20 brave human volunteers and several million mosquitos (sourced from the Sibelius Forest near Hämeenlinna) has shown that the insects react in very different ways when played music by different composers – and Sibelius’s music came top of the list for keeping them away.
The 20-minute-long tests were carried out in controlled netted areas, and (to simulate potential real life situations) recordings of various pieces of music were played back on a mobile phone. When music by Sibelius was tested, the mosquitos formed an orderly swarm in the immediate vicinity of the phone and did not bother the human test subjects at all. Project leader Prof. E. Ticker said: ‘We were very surprised the the mosquitos reacted in this way, and cannot yet explain this behaviour. It may be that they recognized the nature imagery in the music; or it may simply be they they have far more sophisticated cultural tastes than was hitherto believed.’ He continued: ‘We do, however, recommend that you refrain from answering your mobile phone if it rings while mosquitos are swarming around it.’
Below are selected test results for various musical works:
Sibelius: Tapiola: reduction of frequency and severity of mosquito bites by approx. 100%.
Peterson-Berger: Arnljot: A slight decrease in bites, ascribed to the insects and human test subjects becoming very drowsy.
Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony: no measurable change in frequency of mosquito bites, but several cows from a neighbouring farm gathered round and looked over a gate at the experiment.
Lordi: Hard Rock Halleluja: an increase in mosquito bites of approx. 15%
Stockhausen: Dienstag aus Licht: test abandoned because mosquitos and human test subjects rapidly left the test zone.