Ultrasonic pest repellent is an electronic device that emits high-frequency sound waves intended to repel or kill rodents, cockroaches, and other common household pests. Though they are popular, their use and effectiveness as a do-it-yourself pest control solution has been disputed by lab testing. Mounting evidence from researchers indicates that there are much better alternatives to ultrasonic pest repellent, including calling up your local pest control pro.
Unlike bait traps, which capture pests where they are, ultrasonic repellent is used to drive pests away. Ideally, the high-frequency sound will make the pests abandon the area, leaving you pest free. The good news is that this sound is at a frequency above human hearing, so it’s not distracting or annoying to humans.
The prevailing theory behind these devices is that pests won’t stick around because they can no longer live comfortably inside your home. For some people, the appeal of ultrasonic devices is because they are seen as a more humane form of pest control. However, even this is not entirely true.
These devices are supposed to work because they cause a physiological response, known as an audiogenic seizure, which results in uncontrolled running, convulsions, and even death.
If you think you’re getting a humane pest control solution, you might want to reconsider. If the ultrasonic repellent does work, it may kill the pests rather than drive them away.
But the available evidence suggests that the main issue with ultrasonic pest repellent solutions isn’t that they are inhumane, but that they simply don’t work.
Sound-based repellent might sound good in theory, but it doesn’t seem to hold up in practice. A 2015 University of Arizona study concluded that, despite an increasing number of patents for ultrasonic repellents in recent years, they are not an effective pest control solution. A 2012 study looking at the efficacy of sonic repellents in eliminating bed bugs found that bed bugs are just as likely to occur in areas with and without ultrasonic pest repellent products. As the researchers put it:
Our results confirm that commercial devices producing ultrasound are not a promising tool for repelling bed bugs.
In 2002, Kansas State University determined that the ultrasonic devices were effective at repelling some insects, like crickets, but did nothing to deter cockroaches, ants, or spiders. Even pests that were initially affected by the noise become habituated after a short time.
Because of the shaky science behind these sonic repellers, in 2003 the Federal Trade Commission banned some makers of ultrasonic pest control devices from claiming they work. After several 1995 studies concluded that ultrasonic pest control has no effect on rodents, the Environmental Protection Agency fined manufacturers for misbranding such products.
Dealing with pests is a challenge. They are annoying, scary, and can leave you feeling uncomfortable in your own home. To enjoy pest-free living, you need a pest control solution that is safe to use and effective in the long term.
If you are set on do-it-yourself pest control, consider options such as bait traps and insecticide sprays. Remember to follow the directions on the packaging closely. Using them incorrectly will diminish their effectiveness and can even be unsafe to you and your family, especially if the pest problem is inside your home.
If your DIY solution doesn’t work, then you need to turn to a pest control company. At Good Life Pest Solutions, we are licensed to use insecticides, bait traps, heat lamps, and can even perform a whole-home fumigation. To keep the pests gone for good, we will perform ongoing pest control in and around your property.
You don’t want pests—and neither do we. Don’t turn to ultrasonic pest repellent, even though such devices may claim to work. Our expert pest control specialists have seen it all, and can provide a thorough, complete pest control inspection and service to eliminate pests for good. We’re happy to schedule a service at your home or business. Contact us today!