Personally, I don’t know of anyone who has not tried one of those sonic pest repellants. You know, those small plastic devices that plug into an outlet and are supposed to drive away roaches and rats and other annoying pests through the high pitched sound they emit.
We’ve tried them over time, not once but three different times, each time hoping they’d have an effect, ANY effect, on the problem. And each time the answer was nope.
It has been awhile since we even bothered with those things, but today I was reminded of them when I read this article on LifeHacker.com:
Stop Wasting Money on Sonic Bug Repellants: They Don’t Work
Sonic bug repellants, whether they’re supposed to ward of mosquitoes from your backyard BBQ or roaches and ants from inside your home, are largely based on junk science and wishful thinking, according to a Texas A&M entomologist who’s spent years studying the products. You’re better off keeping your money in your pocket, or just buying pest repellent that actually works.
Several years ago I moved into an apartment with a pretty bad bug problem we didn’t know about until it was too late. I ignored the warning signs and moved in anyway, only to find the place crawling with critters before I could even unpack my boxes. Not wanting to immediately unload cans of Raid and other chemical sprays and baits that could impact my health, I decided to give some wall-mounted sonic bug repellers a try that I picked up from my local big box hardware store. According to the package, all I had to do was plug them into a wall socket and the bugs would vanish. Suffice to say I had less than stellar results. Six months later, I broke lease and bailed on the place.
That’s just my experience, but Texas A&M University entomologist Dr. Roger Gold has spent over 20 years studying and debunking the myth of sonic bug repellants, from mobile apps that promise to keep bugs away by emitting an ultrasonic sound from your iPhone’s speakers to the wall-mounted ones I threw away a few bucks on. In an interview with Buzzfeed, he notes “Based on the testing we have done through the years, the claims of repelling insects [with sound] are unfounded.”
Gold has been testing devices since the 1990s, and he has yet to see one that works—mostly because different insect species perceive sound in different ways, and even those that may be annoyed by some types of sound eventually just get used to it after a while, like any other animal would. One 2002 study by Kansas State University showed 94dB sounds stressed Indian Meal Moths out enough that they didn’t have much success mating, but not enough that they left. Another 2006 study by the same team showed the devices had little to no effect on cockroaches, which backs up Gold’s own research. The moral of the story? Save your money and go buy traps, sprays, or call an exterminator—your money will be better spent.
I agree 🙂