There are countless arthropod pest control products available in stores, including aerosol insecticides, sticky traps, bug bombs, bug zappers, and old fashioned fly swatters. These products are just a few pest control options available to unlicensed and untrained individuals who want to combat insect pests on their own, and without professional assistance. Some store-bought pest control products are useful for exterminating individual arthropods that wander indoors inadvertently, but generally, these products are inadequate for eliminating arthropod infestations. Although the effectiveness of many widely available pest control products seem dubious, like bug bombs, American consumers have been purchasing these products for decades. Several companies produce and distribute what are known as “sonic pest devices” that produce a wide range of infrasonic and ultrasonic sounds that repel insect and arachnid pests while being inaudible to humans. Advertisements for sonic pest devices claim that the sound frequency emitted by these devices can be adjusted to target a wide variety of different arthropod pest species, including ants, spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, bed bugs and mosquitoes.
Advertisements do not describe how exactly sonic pest devices work to repel arthropod pests, but it can be assumed that these devices repel arthropods by producing sounds that bugs cannot tolerate. First of all, while humans may not near ultrasonic sounds, dogs can hear them, which may prompt pet owners to think twice before purchasing a sonic pest device. Second of all, several studies have confirmed that sonic pest devices are largely ineffective at repelling insect pests. Multiple studies have demonstrated that neither cockroaches nor mosquitoes respond in any observable way to the sounds emitted by nine different sonic pest devices. One study evaluated the effectiveness of three sonic pest devices for ant control, and only one repelled ants in a laboratory setting, but this effect was lost after a very short time. Another study found that four sonic pest devices failed to elicit a response from bed bugs, and one study found that these devices not only attract mosquitoes, but they also led to more frequent mosquito bites. While the sonic pest control devices that are on the market today are almost completely ineffective, researchers state that high frequency sound emissions can still be used to control arthropod pests, as studies show that certain sound frequencies can repel mosquitoes, Indian meal moths and bark beetles. The sonic pest devices available in stores now are not technologically sophisticated enough to repel specific insect pest species.
Have you ever purchased, or considered purchasing a sonic pest device in the past?