Ultrasonic pest control devices are available as alternatives to messy, inconvenient poisons and traps. They are small electronic devices that plug into an electrical outlet. Alternatively, some run on batteries.
They emit ultra-high frequency sound waves that are supposed to repel pests, including creepy-crawly pests like ants and roaches, and rodents like mice and rats. The noise is too high-pitched to be heard by humans or by pets like cats or dogs. If you have pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, or gerbils, though, the noise may disturb them. The idea is that the sound will be intolerable to pests and keep them away.
Most ultrasonic pest control devices have a fairly limited range. It is often recommended you use a separate device for each room you want to keep free of pests. They may have a range of up to 30 feet, but walls and furniture can interfere with the transmission of the sound waves, and therefore you may need a separate unit for each room even if the room is smaller than 30 square feet. Some devices claim to work for an entire floor of a house, however.
The price of ultrasonic pest control devices varies widely, depending on the type of unit you buy and on its range. You can spend anywhere from $20 on one to a couple hundred dollars on one. You can buy them at some hardware stores, or you can purchase them online.
Of course, the real question is whether ultrasonic pest control devices really work at all. While some people do report using them with good success, unfortunately the science just doesn’t bear that out. Studies have actually been done in which ultrasonic devices were placed right next to cages of rodents. The rodents in these studies did not appear disturbed by the devices and went on to lead fairly normal rodent-lives. When males and females were placed in a cage together, they even bred. Entomologists also report that some of the creepy-crawly pests cannot even hear the high-pitched sounds put out by the devices, so obviously there is no reason these devices should deter them.
Back in the 80’s, the Federal Trade Commission actually charged several companies that manufactured ultrasonic pest control devices with false advertising for making claims they could not substantiate. The companies were required to make refunds to a large number of customers. Such devices are still on the market today, though, though the technology is pretty much the same and they are not really any more effective than the devices available in the 80’s.
So if ultrasonic pest control devices don’t work, what do you do for pests in your home? You’ll have to rely on the old standards. Try traps for mice and other rodents, either snap traps or live traps, if you prefer. For the creepy-crawly pests, there are a number of effective sprays and powders available. You can either purchase products at a hardware store or a department store like Walmart, or you can hire a professional exterminator to come in and treat your home for you. Most exterminators will come to your home for a free inspection and offer you some free advice about dealing with your pest control problem, even if you do not end up using their services. I suggest you give one a call.
Sources:Barb Ogg, PhD. http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/ultrasonicdevices.shtml. Considering Ultrasonic Pest Control Devices? Save Your Money.