Do Ultrasonic Electronic Pest Repellents Really Work?
By: Julie Day
Ultrasonic electronic pest and insect repellent devices claim that their high frequency sound waves are intolerable to rodents and insects. However, simply plugging in one of these devices probably won’t end your pest woes. It’s important to understand exactly what these devices can do before investing in one.
In 2001, the Federal Trade Commission sent a warning to manufacturers of ultrasonic pest control devices, demanding that claims of effectiveness must be backed up by scientific research. Thanks to the FTC intervention, package claims on ultrasonic rodent and insect devices are a little less preposterous than they used to be, and many product websites have links explaining their research methods and results, such as these from Green Shield and Victor.
If you dig a little deeper into the various products, you’ll find that the studies have mixed results. Overall, some ultrasonic pest control devices show some results with certain pests – how’s that for convincing? These products are by no means a quick fix, and none of them claim 100% effectiveness on any pest, so they need to be kept in perspective as a possible contributor to an overall pest management system, not as a magic weapon.
If you’re thinking of adding electronic repellents to your pest-control system, keep in mind:
- Device Location: The sound waves from ultrasonic pest control devices are short range and very weak, so they’re easily blocked by furniture, walls, and corners. To test out the location of your device, place a lamp next to the device, turn off all the other lights, and note the beams and shadows from the lamp. The repellent sound waves will pretty much only be active where the light reaches.
- FTC Warns About Ultrasonic Pest-Control Devices (ftc.gov)
- Ultrasound and Arthropod Pest Control (Kansas State University)