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Don’t Waste Money on Ultrasonic Pest Repellers, Grumpy Gardener Says

1 de oktober de 2023

For most people, the sight of ants, roaches, spiders, centipedes, mice, bedbugs, and other vermin scurrying happily through the house is a major turn-off. We’d do just about anything to send these invaders packing. We’ve even read stories about people setting off so many bug bombs inside homes that the fumes ignite and cause an explosion (lesson learned: keep bug bombs far away from pilot lights and leave home before fogging your house). In the parlance, that’s what’s known as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Not surprisingly, homeowners are looking for easy solutions that don’t contain toxins or explosive content. I tried an ultrasonic pest repeller to get rid of unwanted guests, and here are the results.

Pest Control Methods

Blowing up your house, obviously, is not an option. What else can you do? Well, if you visit a local home center or hardware store, you’ll find no shortage of sprays, insect traps, poisons, sticky paper, glue boards, and other vermin-dispatch devices. You can employ professional exterminators to periodically inspect and treat the house. These methods are proven to work. What does not work, though, is a futuristic-looking device that sounds so cool and high-tech you’ve probably bought one already—an ultrasonic pest repeller.

How Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Are Designed To Work

Available in numerous shapes, sizes, colors, and prices, ultrasonic pest repellers are designed to plug into an electrical outlet in any room you’re having a problem. They «repel» vermin by emitting high-frequency sound waves too high for humans to hear that supposedly make pests antsy (pun intended), convulsive, irritated, and prone to leaving. Companies may claim their devices chase away birds, bats, rodents, fleas, cockroaches, and even spiders.

High-Frequency Problems

A couple of issues immediately come to mind. Although ants, spiders, bedbugs, and such can sense vibrations, they don’t have ears. Plus, high-frequency sound waves travel short distances and are quickly absorbed by just about anything—carpets, curtains, towels, recliners, pillows, boxes, and piles of dirty underwear. Stick a piece of cardboard between the repeller and the target and the target won’t notice a thing. Ultrasonic turns ultra-useless.

Studies have also found that creatures that do react to ultrasonic pest repellers seem to get over it quickly and resume life as usual. In other studies, vermin didn’t appear to react at all.

First-Hand Experience

Full disclosure—I once bought a pair of these things to drive squirrels out of my attic. They had set up shop in a corner, so I pointed the repellers directly at the area about six feet away and cut on the juice. Absolutely no effect. Either they detected the sound and didn’t care or they didn’t hear it at all. I finally had to go retro and trap the varmints. That worked.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

You’ll often find posts on social media rating the top 10 ultrasonic pest repellers. The research might be based on «ultrasonic pest repellers» sold on, where you can count how many stars each device was given, and how many people rated it. The devices with the most stars and ratings win. This boosts buyers» confidence because we all know every single positive review on Amazon is legitimate.

When clicking on the highest-rated repellers found there, you may find descriptions littered with grammatical errors and dubious claims. Faithful readers, don’t be taken in like I was. There are lots of effective ways to eliminate disgusting bugs. Your foot. A fly swatter. Boric acid. Ant trap. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ultrasonic pest repeller? Nah.

More Garden Myths Debunked

«Grumpy Says, Don’t Let the Leaves Lie»

«Carnivorous Plants for Insect Control? No Way!»