Ultrasonic Pest Repellers: How Effective Are These Products?
If you have a pest or rodent problem in your home, the chances are you’re searching for a quick, guaranteed fix to get them out and stop them coming back. Unwanted animals in your home like rats and mice can cause a health hazard by contaminating food and even cause structural damage or destroy furniture. Unfortunately, a miracle cure does not exist and pest problems will persist. However, there are various products on the market that claim to make a significant difference and help improve the situation.
One of these items is the ultrasonic pest repeller. These ultrasonic devices are designed to emit high-frequency sound waves beyond the limit of human hearing, generally over 20,000 Hz, which classes them as ‘ultrasonic.’ Ultrasonic sound waves are supposedly intolerable to certain animals, notably rodents and insects, but are silent to the human ear and safe for most household pets. But, how effective exactly are these devices?
What Do They Claim?
The marketing claims made by manufacturers of ultrasonic pest repellers has changed dramatically since a stern warning was issued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2001 and one manufacturer was publicly reprimanded for ignoring the warning. This has put a stop to unsubstantiated claims, which had previously stated that the devices were up to 100% effective on all types of pests.
Nowadays, the efficacy claims are somewhat more realistic, although still debatable. The devices are said to cause confusion or a strong physical response known as an audiogenic seizure, which can cause the animal to flee the premises or result in their death. Once the pests learn that the area is inhospitable, they will seek alternative locations to nest or search for food.
However, some counterarguments against the products have claimed that instead of forcing pests to flee, the ultrasonic sound waves simply stimulate and disturb them, making them much more active around the house than they would otherwise be. If you are struggling with a cockroach or spider infestation in your home, disrupting their nest may cause the problem to appear worse due to increased visible numbers at any one time. If you are using the devices in conjunction with traps, this could increase the effectiveness of your traps and help improve the situation.
How Well Do They Work?
One the selling points for these electronic pest devices is their ease of use. Not only do they simply plug into your mains supply, they are also completely non-toxic and safe for contact with humans, children, and domestic animals. This makes them a more environmentally-friendly and safer option to use in the home and in areas where food is stored, unlike poisons which can be extremely dangerous if they make contact with skin or are ingested.
One of the drawbacks that hampers their efficacy is their range. Due to the very short soundwaves that are emitted, the sound cannot travel long distances and is very easily disrupted or blocked by furniture and walls. Therefore, to truly get the maximum impact from these products, several devices will need to be installed around the home for full coverage. Corded versions of ultrasonic pest repellers are the more expensive option; however, they have better coverage and are said to more effective than wireless counterparts.
Some arguments have claimed that rodents can become accustomed to the noise and once they realize that they will come to no physical harm, they will continue to nest or search for food in the ultrasound covered area. However, certain repellent devices are designed to emit sounds with non-repetitive frequency levels, making it more difficult for any pest to get used to the noise. Some also claim that their loudest emitted sound is very similar to that of a dominant male rodent. As they are very territorial creatures, this is likely a good deterrent to rodents looking to explore or settle in a new area.
Has There Been Testing?
Unlike chemical pesticides, ultrasonic devices are not regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. This means that the EPA doesn’t hold the products to the same strict testing requirements chemical solutions. There is little data or proof available to support the idea that these products are particularly effective and, although some manufacturers are currently carrying out further research and tests, the findings from these studies tend to show that they are effective against certain types of pests with varying levels of results. It does seem certain that the ultrasonic waves can be a useful deterrent against rodents and pests and help reduce their presence.
How Do You Use Them?
First and foremost, you need to establish whether or not you have an existing infestation. If so, you must also uncover the full extent of the problem and all the affected areas of the home in order to treat it as effectively as possible. Pests in the home can bring health hazards; therefore, you should take care to fully assess whether or not they are likely to come into contact with your food or young children.
From the evidence available and general consumer feedback, it is advised that ultrasound devices alone are not sufficient to clear an existing infestation, particularly if your home otherwise provides a very hospitable environment for the critters. For this reason, if you already have large numbers of insects or rodents in your home, ultrasound pest repellers should be used in conjunction with other types of treatment such as traps or poison. Alternatively, a professional pest control company can be enlisted to eradicate the problem and protect your home from further invasions.
From the evidence available and general consumer feedback, it is advised that ultrasound devices alone are not sufficient to clear an existing infestation.
As we have previously mentioned, ultrasound devices are most effective when many are used around the home, due to their limited range of coverage. It is important to place a device as close as possible to any existing or potential nesting areas otherwise they may simply deter the pests from entering certain areas of the home. If they are unable to find a peaceful and safe place to nest and breed, the chances are they will leave the property in search of a more suitable location.
What are the Alternatives?
If you’re looking to rid your home of pests, there are a number of alternative solutions, each with different claims of effectivity, advantages, and disadvantages. Other than ultrasound repellers, some of the most common options are:
Poison traps with food for bait are designed to target certain types of species and provide an appropriate poison to best eliminate the infestation. Although safe when handled correctly, homeowners with domestic animals or small children may choose not to use this method due to the toxicity level and severe health hazards if ingested. Poison is a very effective way to treat an infestation; however, the dead pests must be removed and appropriately disposed of as soon as possible, to avoid the poison infiltrating the food chain.
Baited Spring Traps
These traps also attract rodents by using food as bait; however, they are designed to kill on impact with the spring-loaded trap. Although non-toxic and safer for the environment, these traps can be unsafe if left within reach of pets or children. Some homeowners may also find it distressing to remove the dead rodents from the traps.
Designed to trap pests, glue boards provide an extremely strong adhesive surface on a plastic tray. Once an animal touches the surface of the glue, they become bonded by the glue and are unable to free themselves until they die from starvation or exhaustion over a number of days. This type of trap should be used with extreme care and caution, there is no way to determine which animal becomes stuck to the trap and, as a result, they can be very hazardous to wildlife or other animals that happen to pass by.
These non-kill traps provide a more humane solution as they tempt the animal into a chamber with food, and then a spring-loaded door is released as soon as they trigger a push point, closing behind them. If you intend to release your pests humanely, the traps should be checked regularly to avoid the animal dying from starvation. You should also regularly check to ensure that unintended wildlife has not become caught. What’s more, the pest should also be released far away from the home, to stop them returning again.
For insect infestation where traps are insufficient, fumigation may be the most effective solution. This method should only be carried out by trained professionals, due to the toxicity of chemicals and gasses used in the process. For maximum results, the building should be enclosed in an airtight tent to trap the fumes; however, this can be expensive and is not always a viable option. When compared with the other alternatives, ultrasound pest repellent devices can seem like the perfect cost-effective and humane solution to rid your house of infestations. Due to the low cost and minimal installation time, it is certainly worth trying this method first before investing in more expensive or hazardous methods. However, due to mixed customer feedback and inconclusive testing reports, these devices should not be viewed as a 100% effective solution.
Findings show that they are most effective when used in conjunction with another form of pest removal or when they are used solely to deter any pests from entering the home, instead of treating an existing problem.
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