Ants are a common sight and not just at your picnic. Keeping ants out of your garden and your home can feel like an ongoing battle. If you don't want to mess with toxic ant killer products, you might consider alternatives like an ultrasonic ant repeller. Unfortunately, there's not much evidence to back up the effectiveness of these devices, so you might want to consider other ways to control ants.
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How Ultrasonic Ant Repellers Work
The idea behind ultrasonic pest repellent devices is that the high-frequency sound waves irritate and distress the ants to force them out of your home without chemicals. The ultrasonic sound waves are so high that you can't hear them. These devices are often designed for various pests, including rodents and insects, with the appeal of being safe for pets and humans.
Indoor pest repeller models typically plug into an outlet, but you can also get outdoor models that use solar power to operate. The range of the devices can vary and is usually listed as a square footage. Walls can interfere with that coverage, though, since these devices rely on sound waves.
Are They Effective?
The general consensus is that ultrasonic pest repellent devices aren't effective. They lack any real scientific backing, especially for ants. The manufacturers of some of these ultrasonic devices say they're proven effective, but that testing takes place in a controlled test environment rather than a real home. In your house, lots of things can dampen the sounds, including your carpet, curtains, and other soft items, which interferes with the pest repellent effect.
Are They Safe for Pets?
Cats and dogs generally aren't bothered by ultrasonic pest repellers even though they can hear the sounds. However, some smaller pets might feel distressed due to the sounds. That includes hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and some reptiles. This is likely due to the smaller size of these pets compared to larger cats and dogs that might not be bothered by the volume. If you have small pets, it's usually better to use an integrated pest management approach to get rid of ants and protect your pets.
Effect on Other Items
A concern for some homeowners is how an ultrasonic pest control device will affect other items in the home. You likely won't notice any effects on items in your home. They shouldn't interfere with your home Wi-Fi while they're operating. However, you might notice some interference on the phone, even on your cellphone.
Alternative Ant Control Methods
Instead of using ultrasonic pest repellers that likely won't work, try other ant control methods that are proven to work. Installing ant bait traps where you see the ants walking helps slowly kill the colony. Wiping the trails where the ants walk with soapy water helps remove the scent trails to discourage other ants from following. It's also important to clean up crumbs and store food in airtight containers to keep from attracting ants.
Outside, clean up the landscaping and mulch, leaving at least 6 inches of clear space next to your house. Look for cracks and gaps where the ants are likely entering your home and seal them.