Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why DO Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears?

This is the book we have been reading and acting out this week at school: 

THIS is an idea of the disgusting creature that, very literally, buzzed in my ears all night last night.  

Is that considered ironic?  Well, regardless... it was terribly annoying.  

But it left me wondering... why DO mosquitoes buzz in our ears?  I mean, I'm sure we've all been there.  You are rudely awoken by the annoying noise and swat it away, only to have it return less than a minute later.  So next time you pull the sheet up over your head, but then you can't breathe and have to position the sheet just so in order to cover everything except your nose.    If you're lucky enough to fall back asleep that way, the sheet will inevitably slide off and you will be re-awoken by the buzzing once more.  

I googled the question to see what I could find out about the buzzing mystery.  (It took some creative rewording to get past the children's book results.)  A lot of message board type sites offered answers like, "they buzz everywhere, you just hear it by your ears because your ears can hear,"  or other uninspired responses like, "They just do it to annoy you."  

I did find one promising answer.  I can't guarantee their credibility, but I'll share what they have to say anyways.  It's from a site called


"The commitment a mother bears her children, biological imperative though it may be, can produce some astounding behavior. Fathers, take note. Not one of the 3,000 known species of mosquitoes features a male willing to dine on blood for his kids.

In most species the female requires a meal of blood to aid in egg production, in addition to her usual diet of nectar.

To find victims, the mother-to-be follows cues like our body heat, moisture and carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, the carbon dioxide we exhale attracts the insect to our heads, where they fly around looking for a tasty spot.

The telltale buzz that precedes the poke of her proboscis is not some guttural pre-meal grace, but rather the high-pitched whine of rapidly-beating wings."


Who knows what the truth may be.  Perhaps, as the African Folktale suggests, the mosquitoes really are just buzzing around to ask, "is everyone still angry at me?"  As the story goes, when they ask that question, the always get an honest answer..."SPLAT!"

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