Hazards of Electronic Pest Repeller

While they may show up at different times of the year, choose different places to burrow and annoy you depending on where you live, mice and other rodents are a common pest across the country. And getting rid of them can be a full-time job. Buying, placing, setting and baiting expensive traps is time consuming. But there are ultrasonic rodent repellers on the market that promise you simply plug in the device, and the mice disappear. Do they actually work, and are they safe for long-term use?

credit: artisteer/iStock/GettyImages
Hazards of Electronic Pest Repeller

Hazard or Myth?

Recent studies show that compact and affordable devices are harmless and offer a healthier, more efficient option to toxic rodent bait and unwieldy traps. However, they don't show that the devices work for every situation. They also note that the devices are not a quick fix to pest problems, requiring weeks if not months to eradicate the encroaching enemy.

Some people have feared that the high-pitch sound the devices emit could cause damage to hearing, particularly in little kids and older adults. This isn't proven considering that the level of sound is about the same as most people encounter as they go about their daily lives.

How Do They Work?

Actually, the idea isn't new. Chinese farmers used handmade devices that emitted sounds that drove the pests from their crops thousands of years ago. Today's devices are a little more intense, relying on 10 to 100K Hertz to cause confusion and simply make the rodents uncomfortable in their new habitat, your home. They should pack up and leave due to the unsavory atmosphere.

The sound is safe for kids, adults and pets, although hamsters can be very unhappy if they're too close to an emitter. It can take a month of use before the critters are completely gone, so be patient and consistent with using the electronic repellents. Many of the rodent repellents on the market change frequency automatically so that the pests don't get too comfortable and adjust to the new annoyance.

What Device is Best?

Depending on your infestation, most repellents are relatively inexpensive compared to hiring a professional rodent remover. Plug-in devices cost about $10. They're usually sold in multipacks to cover different areas. The sound doesn't travel through walls, so you'll need to consider where you want to place them to get the most coverage.

Corded units, on the other hand, cover a large area and only require one plug. They have a longer range and also a higher price tag. For $25 to $100, you can cover almost 5,000 square feet without having to monitor different devices. This is ideal for large basement or attic areas.

Another bonus for using electronic rodent repellers is their ability to drive away mosquitoes and other flying nuisances. They're much safer to use since you don't need to worry about toxic bait getting in the wrong hands, or paws, or pinching your fingers on catchy trap contraptions.