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Ultrasound as a Repellent for Wildlife

When searching for ways to control wildlife damage, one can be overwhelmed by the available options. This portion of the site is dedicated to helping you sort through the options to find the best solution for your particular situation. Please understand that we will have to speak in general terms as the applicability of any of these options depends on setting, local laws and regulations as well as personal preferences.

We hope, however, that you will find this information helpful in making more informed and responsible wildlife damage management decisions.

Ultrasound photo by Stephen Vantassel

Ultrasound

Definition: According to Wikipidia, ultrasound is a form of cyclic sound pressure with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, this limit being approximately 20 kilohertz (20,000 hertz).

Varieties

 

Is Ultrasound Effective?

Even Animal Rights Groups don't recommend ultrasonic devices. See the HSUS's Wild Neighbors book.

In 2011, one researcher found some evidence that ultrasound did keep bats and mice out of an open area (e.g. empty floor, open rafters). Assuming these results stand up to further scrutiny, ultrasound may be helpful in encouraging rodents and bats to other locations where they can be more easily controlled or tolerated.

Additional Information on Ultrasound's Effectiveness

Here are several references that show that ultrasound devices are not effective in controlling rodents.

  • Ultrasonic and Subsonic Devices. Washington State University.
  • Sprock, C.M., W.E. Howard, and F.C Jacob. 1967. Sound as a deterrent to rats and mice. J. Wildl. Manage. 33194)724-736.
  • Howard, W.E., and R.E. Marsh. 1982. Ultrasonics and electromagnetic control of rodents. Third Intern. Theriological Congress, 15-20 August 1982, Helsinki, abstract.
  • Howard, W.E., and R.E. Marsh.1985. Ultrasonics and electromagnetic control of rodents. Acta Zool. Fennica 173:187-189. EPA funded our electromagnetic study and we worked with EPA to help the Federal Trade Commission try to ban ultrasonics. I think we demonstrated that the success of a rodent control program with ultrasonics was just as successful if the units were not turned on.

Why Repellents Fail

Mothballs

Ultrasound

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