Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Work? (on Mice, Roaches & More)

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

As the years have developed, so have methods to effectively control pest infestation. The industry has boomed and sought out every way possible to keep every creepy critter out of your house, some effective, while others not so much.

One of those new developments being an ultrasonic repeller. You simply plug them into your home and let it take care of the rest. Something so simple raises a lot of questions and room for skepticism.

So, do ultrasonic pest repellers work on mice, spiders, roaches, bed bugs, and others? Let’s dig into them and see if they’re as effective as it’s made out to be.

What Are They?

From chemical warfare to biological control methods, the pest industry has released a lot of different ways to keep the pests out of our homes. With the rapid advancement of technology, ultrasonic repellents were created to be as hands-off as possible. You simply plug a small emitter into a wall outlet then go about your business.

The repellent works by emitting frequencies that we can’t hear as humans, but the critters attempting to invade your home can. The frequencies are meant to simply repel them away from the area that frequencies reach.

In theory, this is great because it doesn’t affect us, we don’t have to use potentially harmful chemicals, and we can help leave a smaller footprint on the Earth. But, this begs the question, “how effective are they truly?”


The ultrasonic repellents were actually quite controversial in the pest control industry during its initial release. The appeal of not having to routinely reapply products around your house, or even use chemicals at all, meaning there was little action required on our end. But, the biggest argument was there just wasn’t enough science done to prove that they were truly going to work as they advertised.

Back in 2001, the FTC put out a warning to the manufacturers of these products stating that they needed more scientific data backing their products. This warning from the FTC proved to be essential because as we come to learn the science is showing us that it may not be a reliable source of pest control.

In 2015, the University of Arizona did a study and found that the ultrasonic repellers didn’t quite live up to the hype. They concluded that the sonic repellents aren’t necessarily effective for common pest problems, but they may get better as we learn about bugs more. We just don’t know enough about bugs and how they perceive sound to release a product like this.

A common issue with using these types of products is that even though initially it rustles some bugs around, it doesn’t necessarily kill them. The bugs adapt and eventually come back only after a short while, or they will continue to move elsewhere around your home.

What Actually Works Then?

By no means I’m stating that ultrasonic repellers are completely useless. There are ways that it may be possible to use them successfully. Depending on what your specific pest problem is, it’s a tough call to say that the ultrasonic repellers are a viable option for your general pest control. But, if there was a certain critter that you were trying to keep away, that’s when they might be a better fit.

If you are going to use ultrasonic repellers then it would be best to find one that specifically targets a pest. The frequencies that a general pest repeller emits just aren’t enough. But if you were to find one that specifically focused on one pest, that would be far more effective. When you target one specific pest, it will always be more effective than taking a general approach to all bugs and hoping it gets rid of the one you’re going after.

It is important to remember when using this form of a repellent that it may not actually kill the specific pest, but instead move it away from the area. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being moved out of your home completely. They still may be lurking around the outside or another location of the house. The best practice would be to use them with other forms of pest control like a chemical control or something like glue boards.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

This is the true question that everyone is asking. It seems that ultrasonic repellers make a lot of sense. They seem cost-effective, leave a lesser impact on resources, and leave no reason for using potentially harmful chemicals to get rid of your pest problem. But, truly are they going to be the best avenue to take for your general pest problems? It seems that it may not live up to the hype just yet.

Though it makes a lot of sense that they would be effective, the science isn’t quite there yet to really determine what we need in order for them to be effective.

In more cases than not, they produce promising results at first where the pests may stay away from the area for a few days, but after a while, they’ll grow accustomed to the noise in their environment. Even matched with a chemical control method, the ultrasonic repeller may still not deliver the results we seek when it comes to protecting our homes from pests.

Still Wanting to Try Them?

If you are still interested in giving them a shot, it is best that you find a reputable company before purchasing. Since the FTC’s warning back in 2001, many companies have provided science-based data to back their products. Ensure that you thoroughly search the internet for positive reviews and statistics supporting the customer reviews before buying an ultrasonic repeller.

If you own any household pets, please be sure to check if the repeller would affect them. Overall, it seems that they don’t have any negative effect on dogs, cats, or birds, but it is best to play it safe and check what the companies are saying. If you place one in your home and your pet seems to react poorly to it, then it may be best to remove it otherwise, it’ll leave them distressed and uncomfortable.

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