How do Electronic Rodent Repellents Work?

Electronic mouse repellents operate under the idea of using high-frequency sounds to drive mice away from food sources and nesting grounds within human homes.

Sonic or ultrasonic devices have been touted as repellents for everything from roaches to insects to rodents, specifically rats and mice. There are multiple brands of these electric devices that are said to emit either a sonic or ultrasonic wave, which these pests allegedly find irritating. Some are sold specifically to repel rodents. However, there is little data that these devices repel insects or are effective in rodent control.

Rats and mice emit high-pitched sounds and may communicate using these sounds. Devices that use sound that humans can hear typically have no effect on the rodents. Sonic devices are also used to deter birds, but there is only temporary relief, if any.

In fact, in areas with large populations of birds, birds have been observed roosting on top of sonic units. Humans can hear some sounds heard by rats and mice; however, much of the rodents’ hearing range is above the human range. This range outside of human hearing is called “ultrasonic.”

The theory of ultrasonic repellents is to create a sound irritating to rodents, but yet at a frequency out of the range of human hearing. Even though sound may be created that can be heard by rodents and not heard by humans, there is little data to support that these devices repel rodents.

These sounds are supposed to be alarming to mice and discourage them from settling or feeding in affected areas. However, the sound emitted by these repellents cannot pass through walls, and furniture may limit their range. Data on these tools show little to no effectiveness. If mice are present in a home, it is best to contact a pest management professional, since mice can be destructive and spread contamination.

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