Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Work to Control Rats or Other Pests?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

We humans are so enamored by technology that we can sometimes think an electronic device or app will solve any and every problem we have.  And as an attempt to DIY (Do It Yourself), ultrasound, defined by sound frequencies beyond the upper limit of human hearing, has been used as by DIYer’s for pest and even rodent and rat control.

How Do Ultrasonic Pest & Rat Repellers Work?

ultrasonic pest rat repellerIt’s not new technology. It has been known for some time that very high frequency sounds can be heard by animals, including rats and likely many insects. Back in the 1980’s manufacturers were quick to produce devices which electrically produced ultrasonic frequencies to repel or otherwise control rats, mice and insect pests.

The ultrasonic pest or rat repeller is plugged into a home’s electrical receptacle outlets which then allegedly emits high-frequency sounds that are disruptive to pests or rodents – causing them confusion from foraging for food, breeding, nest building, gnawing, etc.

The claims of the ultrasonic device manufacturers were wide and played on people’s fears and concerns around pesticides.  They often cited that these devices avoided the use of “harmful” and/or “toxic” chemicals.  And, of course, if you could repel rats and mice you wouldn’t have to actually kill them—or handle messy traps.  Many of the concerns around “toxic” rodenticides have been addressed by the regulatory actions of the EPA over the last few decades.  But these concerns persist driving folks to purchasing ultrasonic devices in hopes to manage rats and other pests.

Do Ultrasonic Pest & Rat Repellers Actually Work?

The claims made around ultrasonic sound producing machines were never substantiated.  No reputable university or other laboratory has shown these devices to be effective.  At most ultrasonic pest control devices might alter the behavior of rats for a few days until they get used to it.  This is just as how rats and mice get used to a myriad of sounds from humans—cars, washing machines, dryers, furnaces and more—and have no problem settling in and cohabitating with us.

As early as 1995 a study was completed at the University of Lincoln, Nebraska which concluded that in all devices tested they were insufficient in repelling rats and other rodents.  [“Electronic Rodent Repellent Devices: A Review of Efflcacy Test Protocols and Regulatory Actions”. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln.].   Consumer Reports has also put out a warning against such devices. []

Since then, various governmental agencies have taken legal action against manufacturers of these devices, including the US postal service on grounds of mail fraud in cases of using the USPS to deliver their products.  The EPA also took action against some manufacturers.

As late as 2003, manufacturers of ultrasonic devices were pursued by the US Federal Trade Commission and ordered at least one company to cease and desist from making unsubstantiated claims for their product.  Yet, apparently provided that claims of effectiveness against rats, mice and other pests are avoided a multitude of ultrasonic products continue to be offered over the internet.

As people have populated the Puget Sound area of western Washington rat populations—of both roof rats and Norway rats—have also expanded, as well as the damage they cause.  And as rats have become such a formidable problem in the region householders have likewise become alarmed and even desperate to control them.  Unfortunately, consumers unaware that these products do not repel rats, mice or other rodents continue to ‘believe what they want to believe’—that technology has somehow provided a simple solution—and purchase them to no avail.

While none of use want rats in or around our homes we can’t rely on electronic or ultrasonic devices.  If ultrasonic devices worked to get rid of rats our health departments would be exonerating us to buy them and the run-away rat problems of Seattle and other cities would be under control.  Effective pest control continues to be about removing food and shelter for rats, denying them easy access into the structure of our homes by means of “exclusion,” and time-proven control methods employing baits and traps.

Professional Pest & Rat Control

If you have purchased an ultrasonic tool to repel rats you are only delaying the inevitable and allowing rat populations to further establish themselves.  Instead, call Cascade Pest Control—your rat-control specialists serving Seattle, Bellevue and the Eastside, Everett, Tacoma, Bellingham, Olympia, Bremerton and more.

Your Cascade technician is licensed, trained and experienced to inspect your home, detect rat and pest infestations, locate access holes and provide safe and effective treatment. Call Cascade Pest Control to protect your home and prevent future rat problems.  And, if you’re already encountering an infestation call Cascade immediately so we can eliminate the rats and stop them from damaging your home.

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