Many homeowners often turn to DIY pest repellents in order to save money. And ultrasonic pest devices and plugins make a big, bold promise: effortless pest removal with the push of a button. But these promises are largely empty. Consumer Reports advises avoiding ultrasonic pest repellents altogether, stating that in 2016, the New York Attorney General’s office sent cease and desist letters to two different manufacturers of these devices due to false advertising claims. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has been warning consumers about ultrasonic pest control devices for decades, as manufacturers do not have the scientific evidence required to back up their claims of effectiveness.
An ultrasonic pest repeller is an electronic pest control device that emits a high-pitched sound at a frequency that may cause discomfort to, kill, drive away or incapacitate household pests. Ultrasonic pest control solutions market themselves as easier and safer than more hands-on pest repellents and pest control options.
The devices typically get plugged into an electrical outlet. However, some devices are battery-operated for easier use in fields, gardens, sheds and other areas that aren’t wired for power.
When turned on, the machine emits high-pitched sounds or high-frequency vibrations, which are typically imperceptible to human ears, although some individuals with more sensitive hearing may hear them.
Most ultrasonic pest repellers claim to drive away a variety of unwanted home and garden visitors, including: cockroaches, mosquitos, bed bugs, flies, fleas and ticks, silverfish, birds, rats and mice.
The manufacturers behind ultrasonic pest control devices claim that a wide range of pest species don’t like the sounds and vibrations emitted by the machines. Rather than put up with the annoying noised from the device, the pests may flee your home and garden and seek refuge in areas not blanketed by the high-frequency sounds.
Despite manufacturers claiming ultrasonic machines affect all these different species, well-constructed research supporting these claims is scant.
For instance, a study on how ultrasonic pest repellers affect bed bugs found that bed bug activity did seem to change slightly when the devices were running. However, in the end, there was no statistical difference when compared to not using an ultrasonic pest repeller.
A study of rodent repellent devices for the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Wildlife Research Center found that rodents stopped responding to the ultrasonic sounds after just a few days of exposure.
While some ultrasonic repellents may have a minor short-term impact on some pests, the research is nearly universal: Ultrasonic pest repellers are not an effective option for preventing or eradicating pests.
By hiring an experience pest management company, not only will it take the necessary actions to manage your pests but will give you insider tips on what you can do to keep them from becoming a problem in the first place, such as:
- Learning about the behaviors of the pest you’re struggling with and modifying your home and landscape to make it unwelcoming to that specific pest.
- Sealing cracks and openings in your home, such as vents, drains and window frames.
- Removing clutter and sources of food in and around your home that may be attracting pests.
- Eliminating hiding spots around your home and landscape where pests might find shelter and reproduce.
If you’re struggling with a pest problem and don’t know where to start, you don’t have to tackle your pest concerns on your own. Talk to a trained pest control professional at Terminix instead. Our trained technicians can help identify the specific pests you’re dealing with, educate you on the behaviors and habits of these pests and put together a comprehensive control and protection plan.