How does a mosquito buzz?

A mosquito buzz is one of the worst things to hear when you’re about to go to sleep, but how is that noise actually made?

The mosquito buzz is the sound of summer. Whether it’s during camping, sitting on the stoep, or even inside around the TV, the faint buzz in the background is ever-present in the warmer months. But how does this buzzing actually come about?

A lot of people seem to think mosquitoes buzz out of spite, or to show dominance, but the sheer fact is that they can’t help it. When mosquitoes fly, they buzz. But, contrary to popular belief, the noise does not come from the wind hitting their wings. Or from some vocal call that they produce out of their long tubular proboscides.

Mosquitoes actually produce the buzzing noise by using an organ (called a possible stridulating organ by Shipley and Wilson) at the base of their wings. Two parts of the wing, one shaped like a comb, scrape against each other to create the buzzing we know and loathe.

But this mosquito buzz is more than an announcement of their arrival. The sound is actually really important in mating. Both genders emit a buzzing noise, although the female mosquito buzzes at a lower frequency, as it is a lot bigger. The mosquito you hear buzzing around the room as you are trying to sleep is likely to be a female, because she is out looking for blood and often flies around your head whilst on the prowl.

The interesting part is that mosquitoes, male and female, that are looking for mates, alter their buzz to try and match each other. Like a highly romantic mosquito duet. That goes from the 600 Hz (vibrations per minute) of the female and the 400 Hz of the male to make a mating duet of 1 200 Hz, well within the range of human hearing.

There is a rumour that buzzing mosquitoes don’t bite. And this is true, because mosquitoes can’t bite while they fly. When they land, they’re still trouble. But, buzzing mosquitoes are also the type that attract mates. So scientists have experimented with the male mosquito attraction to such a sound. They have emitted fake buzzing noises at the desired frequency to lure them into traps.

But if you’re looking for tried and trusted methods to avoid the buzz, you could use one of the products from Peaceful Sleep’s Original range. Whether you prefer the stick, cream or spray, Peaceful Sleep will help you repel mosquitoes and their buzzing. Or get rid of mosquitoes and keep yourself protected with the Peaceful Sleep Room Spray that offers eight hours of protection with a two-second spray.