Does electronic pest control devices work on mosquitoes, rodents, ants, ticks & fleas, etc? Here is everything you need to know about electronic pest control.

Electronic pest control is the name given to any of several types of electrically powered devices that are designed to repel or eliminate pests, usually rodents or insects. With households going green on a daily basis, there is an increasing demand for methods of pest control that does not in any way harm the environment and pets.

It is for these reasons that entrepreneurs started manufacturing electronic pest control devices. These devices usually come in various forms and capacities but that are all generally meant to be plugged in for them to work. You have to understand that the common pests that get into homes can hear and feel sounds and vibrations that humans can’t hear or see.

These frequencies and vibrations can disturb the pests or disorient them when they hear them. This can cause them to want to get away from the sounds or vibrations and get out of the home if you have enough electronic pest repellers mounted around.

What is an Electronic Pest Repeller?

An electronic pest repeller that emits electromagnetic waves works by sending these waves through your home’s wiring. This is the only type of repeller that can go straight through your walls, and the number of rooms on each circuit of your home will determine how many you need to purchase to cover your entire space.

You can tell how many you’ll need by looking at your circuit box and counting the number of circuits you see. Electronic pest repellers come in various forms. They can be ultrasonic, radio wave or ultrasound.

Types of Electronic Pest Control Devices

  • Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic pest control is a form of electronic pest control that is designed to emit short-wavelength, high-frequency sound waves. The idea is that, while these sounds are too high in pitch for the human ear to hear, certain animals and pests who are in tune with high-frequency sounds can hear them.

These animals may include rats, cockroaches, mice, fleas, lice, etc. These ultrasonic sound waves will supposedly trigger what’s called an audiogenic seizure response in these pests. Many animals such as mice, rats, squirrels, and pesky insects like wasps, mosquitoes, and bed bugs are known to respond to these sound waves.

So if the plug-in pest repellent is switched on in your property, they will leave as soon as they hear them, without you having to use chemicals or deal with traps. Ultrasonic pest repellers, once plugged into an electrical outlet, operate by emitting short wavelength, high-frequency sound waves that are too high for humans to hear.

The average young person hears sounds ranging from 20 to 20,000 Hz; whereas, a middle-aged person only hears up to 12-14,000 Hz. Animals and insects hear sounds in a much higher range. On average, ultrasonic devices emit a sound at about 65,000 Hz which, according to ultrasonic pest control device manufacturers, chases the pests away.

  • Radio wave pest control

Another electronic mode of pest control is a device that emits radio wave. The concept of radio wave (RW) or radio frequency (RF) to control the behavior of living organisms has shown promise.

According to researchers at the Washington State University (WSU), since RF energy generates heat through agitation of bound water molecules, it generates heat through ionic conduction and agitation of free water molecules in insects. As a result, more thermal energy is converted in insects.

RF treatments control insect pests without negatively affecting food stuffs and storage locations. RF treatments may serve as a non-chemical alternative to chemical fumigants for post-harvest pest control in commodities (such as almonds, pecans, pistachios, lentils, peas, and soybeans), reducing the long-term impact on the environment, human health, and competitiveness of agricultural industries.

  • Ultrasound 

Yet another electronic pest control device is the one that makes use of ultrasound waves. A lot of manufacturers have made claims on the efficacy of devices that use this medium. But in 2003, the Federal Trade Commission required Global Instruments, the maker of the Pest-A-Cator/Riddex series of electromagnetic pest control devices, to discontinue any claims for their efficacy until they are backed by credible scientific evidence. This ban continues to be in effect.

Does Electronic Pest Control Devices Work?


Bart Knols, an entomologist who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation and edits the website Malaria World, states there is “no scientific evidence whatsoever” that ultrasound, which is an electronic pest control device, repels mosquitoes.

In 2005, the British consumer magazine Holiday reported the results of its test of a range of mosquito deterrents. The magazine’s editor Lorna Cowan described the four appliances that used a buzzer as “a shocking waste of money” which “should be removed from sale”.

One, the Lovebug, a ladybird-shaped gadget designed to be clipped onto a baby’s cot or child’s pushchair – was singled out as a particular cause for concern, because of the likelihood that parents would trust it to keep mosquitoes away, and their children would be hurt as a result. The Lovebug was withdrawn from the US market after the Federal Trade Commission reprimanded the manufacturer Prince Lionheart.

Effects on rodents

Based on a review of tests of six commercial products, a report made at the University of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1995 concluded that all the devices, when evaluated at a range of frequencies and decibel levels, were insufficient in repelling rodents. The EPA pursued legal action against purveyors of the products, and none were subsequently marketed as a result of fines against the manufacturers.

Fleas and Ticks

Some electronic pest repeller devices are sold as outdoor devices with the intent to keep fleas and ticks out of the yard. Some companies even make devices that strap onto a pet’s collar which is supposed to ward the pests away. A study done in 1991 tested both a collar electronic device and a larger household electronic device. It found that the electronic frequencies had no impact on fleas and ticks.


In lab tests, using powerful electronic devices emitters, some pests were dramatically affected by the sound. But in real-life situations, using store-bought devices, research has shown that electronic pest repellers are inconsistent and ineffective.

The devices available from stores and online aren’t powerful enough to affect pests. Their range is too short and the sound waves they emit are too weak to effectively repel bugs or rodents.

In some cases, mice and rats simply stop reacting to the sound. After initially considering it a threat, they become accustomed to it. Other pests don’t show any reaction. Even if the devices did produce effects on bugs, their range is too limited to control an infestation of any size.

Safety concerns have arisen, too as some users have reported that the sound can weaken the clarity of telephone conversations, interfere with burglar alarm systems, and cause muting in hearing aids. The noise may also cause inadvertent distress to rabbits and rodent pets, such as guinea pigs and hamsters. Cats and dogs can hear in the ultrasonic range, but they appear not to be bothered by the noise emitted by these devices.