Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellents Work?

Owning a home comes with all kinds of problems, and pests are one of them. Finding ways to remove pests from home without traps and tapes is an appealing option. Do those ultrasonic pest repellents actually work?

While the initial use of ultrasonic pest repellents sometimes works, the pests frequently ignore the sound when they realize there is no threat and acclimatize to it. It’s best to continue using traps as an additional method of repellent.

Let’s take a closer look at these ultrasonic pest repellents to see how they work.

What Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellents?

Ultrasonic pest repellents are devices that plug into an electrical outlet. The device will then emit an ultrasonic sound that should be heard by only the pests it’s meant to repel. The sound disrupts the pests’ patterns of behavior and prevents them from gathering food and finding shelter. The theory is that this will cause the pests to seek homes somewhere else when the sound becomes too disruptive to their survival.

sonic pest repeller device

Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellents Actually Repel Anything?

These devices managed to deter only a small number of pests, rather than the large range they typically advertise. In fact, there are a few case studies where the pests eventually got used to the sound and ended up ignoring it. There is also a case study from the University of Arizona that has determined that most of the ultrasonic devices you can pick up commercially aren’t effective at all. 

What Ultrasonic Pest Repellents Might Work Against

There have been studies that show ultrasonic repellents have worked on some insects but not all. It repelled crickets but not cockroaches or ants. Spiders were also found to be unaffected by the ultrasonic devices.

There were some reports that these devices interfered with hearing aids, security systems, and even telephones. Dogs are able to hear the sounds, but these devices affect pet rodents more than dogs or cats. 

What To Do With Your Pest Problem

If you have a pest problem and you’re not sure what to do, you can call an exterminator to get a quote. Or you can try a few natural repellents that have been proven to work. There are several plants and oils that bugs and other pests can’t stand the smell of.

  • Basil – Flies are said to stay away from a home with a basil plant.
  • Peppermint – Peppermint is a great deterrent for multiple types of insects. Mix with water into a spray bottle and spray it around doors and windows to keep out unwanted pests. Read more here.
  • Citrus – Use citrus and water to keep spiders away. Make sure the juice you use isn’t sweetened, and wipe down or spray areas spiders typically hang out.
  • Vinegar – Vinegar and water will keep your ants away. Mix the solution and wipe down anywhere you’ve seen ants. Do this for a few days, and you’ll notice the ants are gone.

The use of decoy wasps nests has found traction in recent years with some belief that they work to repel wasps as they naturally avoid the nests of other colonies. The evidence for this is conflicted, however. Read more here.


Keeping pests out of the home is important to prevent transmittable diseases from entering. Traps and other forms of pest control can be unappealing, so it’s understandable to want something as easy as plugging into an outlet. However, there is no real evidence to support that ultrasonic pest repellents do work.