Ultrasonic Pest Control? Save Your Money
by Barb Ogg, Ph.D., Nebraska Extension Educator, Emeritus
A number of ultrasonic pest control gadgets are being marketed to unsuspecting folks who want an easier and safer way to manage pests around the home. These ultrasonic devices are marketed through mail order companies, home shopping cable channels, in gardening magazines and are readily being sold on the internet. The extension office has received a number of phone calls from folks who are interested in buying these as gifts or for themselves and want to know how effective they are.
Ultrasonic devices claim to use ultra-high frequency sound waves to chase away birds, bats, rodents and arthropod pests like fleas, cockroaches, silverfish and even spiders. Most of them are designed to plug into an electrical outlet, but there are battery-operated models that have been designed as a flea-repellent collar and pocket-sized cards for outdoor lovers to carry around with them to repel mosquitoes. They range from cheap ($6.99) to very expensive ($699.00).
The consensus of researchers who have actually investigated ultrasonic devices is these products do not effectively repel or eliminate pests from homes. In fact, in the 1980’s the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged several companies with false advertising and required them to make refunds to customers. My guess is it is just a matter of time and the FTC will go after the makers of these other devices also.