Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Safe for Babies?

The DIY pest control world is exploding with high-quality products that promise to deliver effective and long-lasting results. Ultrasonic pest repellers are one of those products. These devices are appealing to customers due to their ease of use – you effortlessly eliminate pests with the push of a button.

On top of that, they produce sound at a level that, in theory, is silent to human ears but loud enough to cause discomfort, drive away, and even kill common household pests. The scientific evidence required to back up these bold claims is still murky.

Yet, the number of DIYers investing in these pricey pest control devices is rising steadily. One of the constantly asked questions by homeowners is 'are ultrasonic pest repellers safe for babies?' This article dives deeper into more information about the safety of ultrasonic pest repellers for babies, adults, and pets.

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What Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers?

Ultrasonic pest repellers are pest control devices that theoretically emit short-wave sounds at a high-frequency designed to cause discomfort to repel or kill common household pests. The exact frequency varies between manufacturers, but it is said to be well outside of the frequency detectable by human ears.

When plugged into an electrical outlet and configured per the manufacturer's instructions, the frequency is generated continuously, providing your home with 24/7 protection from unwanted pests. Some ultrasonic pest repellers are battery-operated, allowing you to conveniently use them outdoors in areas that aren't wired for power.

If these devices are to work properly, you must be very keen about where and how you place them. Although the sounds are imperceptible to human ears, pets and people with more sensitive hearing may detect them. Besides, you don't want to accidentally drive unwanted guests into your home, seeking shelter from the ultrasonic pest repeller in your yard.

The Claim Behind Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

As you might have guessed, ultrasonic pest repellers work on the principle of ultrasonic sound. An ultrasonic sound is a sound wave whose frequencies are higher than the audible limit of human hearing.

That's right. Human ears have a hearing range of particular frequencies of sounds, and any sounds whose frequency is above that range are called ultrasonic sounds.

While you cannot hear ultrasonic sounds, the pesky pests in your home can detect them. According to the manufacturers behind ultrasonic pest repellers, pest and insect ears can pick up these sounds easily, just like you can hear another person speak.

Pests cannot stand the annoying noise from these devices. They'd rather leave your house than put up with the hefty noise. Whether you've placed the device in your yard, garden, field, or shed, the claim is the same: the creepy crawlies will flee the 'noisy' area in search of a more comfortable environment, keeping you and your loved ones safe.

To help you make an informed decision, let's look at the research exploring the efficacy of ultrasonic pest repellers.

Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Effective?

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Contrary to popular belief, ultrasonic pest repellers are not a novel invention. In fact, these devices have been around for many years. Throwback to the 15th century, and you'll find that ancient Greek and Chinese communities used sounds and fire to deter small animals from their fields. They understood that the intense sounds would drive the destructive invaders away.

Although the exact origin of ultrasonic pest repellers is not well documented, we know that sound experts have been exploring the reaction of small animals to ultrasonic since the early 1900s. The earliest ultrasonic pest repellers were advertised as an effective solution to deter rats and mice from homes.

Many insects and pests have good ultrasonic hearing. Most of these are nocturnal insects, listening to echolocating predators such as bats in order to escape being caught. Unfortunately, well-constructed studies to indicate that ultrasonic pest repellers actually work are very limited.

During a study investigating the efficacy of ultrasonic repellents against bed bugs, the researchers found that bed bug activity seemed to change slightly when the repellers were on. However, they concluded that the change was insignificant compared to not using the device.

Another 2015 study found that although the number of sonic/ultrasonic pest device patents had increased significantly over the years, most commercially available sonic pest devices were ineffective at eliminating pest issues. And when they did work, they provided short-term results. 

This was further backed up by a study exploring rodent-repellent devices. The study showed that rodents stopped responding to ultrasonic sounds after only a few days of exposure.

Multiple tests have found that dogs and cats hearing range extends into the ultrasonic. Hence, prolonged exposure to ultrasonic sounds can distress and harm small animals. In some cases, the repellers can actually attract pests such as mosquitoes instead of repelling them.

Ultrasonic pest repellers inherently influence the behavior of pests such as roaches and rodents. However, you should understand that pest control methods don't take effect immediately. Hence, you shouldn't expect to see results as soon as you plug in the device. But as the pests continue to hear the ultrasonic sound, they will find your home uncomfortable, and you may notice a significant reduction in pest activities within 1-2 weeks.

Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Safe for Babies?

Ultrasonic pest repellers are typically marketed as a safe and effective solution to keep pests away. Technically, the high-pitched sound produced by these devices is inaudible to both children and adults. 

On top of that, they don't produce toxic gases or radiation that can harm human beings.

Therefore, though the efficacy of ultrasonic pest repellers has remained a controversial topic for years, they are non-toxic and safe for babies and adults.

However, we must note that, like many of our senses, our hearing works best when we are young. This means that children can detect higher-pitched sounds than adults. To put this into perspective, the average hearing frequency of babies is from 20 to 20,000 hertz. Ultrasonic sounds are sounds whose frequency is well above 20,000Hz. Adults cannot perceive such high-pitched sounds.

On top of that, our normal hearing range of up to 20,000Hz naturally begins to drop after age 25. Often, people from age 25 are only able to detect sounds between 20 and 14,400Hz. That notwithstanding, some people have higher hearing sensitivity and may hear ultrasonic sounds.

The bottom line is that while ultrasonic waves may not cause physical damage, they can cause mild and temporary effects such as decreased concentration and increased agitation. A preliminary review found that, used properly, ultrasonic pest repellers may be very helpful to humans.

Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Safe for Pets?

Most homeowners consider pets a part of their family. And it's only natural to consider the safety of your furry friends before investing in the often pricey ultrasonic pest repellers.

Naturally, small animals have very sharp hearing and can easily pick up high-frequency sounds. For instance, dogs can perceive sounds as high as 50,000Hz, meaning they can hear the sounds produced by your ultrasonic repeller loud and clear.

As mentioned earlier, some tests have found that pets are affected by ultrasonic pest repellers. However, because the sound is not associated with punishments or negative stimuli such as pain, your pet will become accustomed to it. And unless the sound is too loud, pets will eventually ignore it.

How to Tell If Your Pet Is Bothered by Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

Again, like humans, not all animals have the same hearing range. Some animals, such as cats, dogs, hamsters, and rabbits, can detect and hear higher frequencies. According to this review, such animals may show signs of discomfort when exposed to ultrasonic pest repellers.

In the review, ultrasonic pest repeller users observed the following signs of discomfort with their pets:

  • Refusal to move (staying close to their caregiver)
  • Increased activity, such as being extra jumpy
  • Reluctant to be touched or backing away
  • Nervous or stressed expression, for instance, pacing a lot
  • Crying
  • Teeth or jaw chattering

Effects of Prolonged Exposure to Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

Ultrasonic pest repellers are designed to emit noise above the frequency of human hearing. Even so, prolonged exposure to ultrasonic noise can lead to adverse health effects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study and found that even though you do not detect ultrasonic noise, it can end up causing cumulative effects on health, such as:

  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Ringing or buzzing noise in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches and severe migraines
  • Sleep problems
  • Balance disturbances and fainting

As mentioned earlier, humans gradually lose sensitivity to higher frequencies as they age. As such, younger adults, teenagers, and children are more likely to detect and hear ultrasonic sounds than adults. This means they are at a higher risk of more severe adverse effects.

So, Is It Safe to Use Ultrasonic Pest Repellers?

Generally, the negative effects associated with ultrasonic pest repellers are rare and reversible. In fact, there is no evidence to prove that the effects mentioned above are any worse than those from the sound frequencies in our normal hearing range.

According to a recent study, ultrasonic pest repellers are safe for use at home. However, it's important to note that this study assessed the effects of short-term exposure to ultrasonic pest repellers. Additionally, the researchers did not look at the device's effects on children and small animals, all of whom hear higher frequencies than adults.

The findings of the above study were based on logical reasoning that ultrasonic repellers are safer than chemical pest control methods and are more humane than glue traps. Let's explore why ultrasonic pest repellers may be safer for babies than other pest control methods.

Why Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Safe for Babies?

Homeowners prefer ultrasonic pest repellers over other DIY pest control methods for several reasons, including:

Reduced Risk of Accidents

Unfortunately, traps can cause injuries to children and adults. For instance, you can potentially hit the trigger on a mouse trap and accidentally snap your finger. Children and pets are naturally curious beings, meaning they are likely to touch pest traps. Mouse and rat traps can break your child's finger or cause severe bruising. Ultrasonic mouse repellents eliminate the risk of injury or getting trapped.

Eliminate The Risk of Accidental Poisoning

Pest control chemicals and poisons are incredibly dangerous for children! Most of these products come in bright colors and may look like delicious candy to the eyes of your curious baby. Ingestion can cause serious or fatal harm, requiring immediate medical attention. Ultrasonic pest repellers are chemical-free, and you'll never have to worry about them ending up in your baby's mouth.

No Dealing with Dead Pests

Trapped live or dead rodents must be handled and disposed of immediately. Failure to do so, you risk your innocent baby playing around with the carcass of the dead rodent. Like live rodents, dead rodents can transmit serious diseases. The best thing about ultrasonic pest repellers is that they don't kill pests. Instead, they make it hard for the pests to live in your house, driving them away. This means that your children will never come into contact with carcasses of dead pests.

Easy to Use

Most pest control methods are tedious and demanding. You must begin with a thorough inspection of your home to identify the pest and apply the correct treatment. But with ultrasonic pest repellent, all you need to do is plug the device into the power source, and the job is as good as done. You can concentrate on taking care of your kids without needing to monitor or clean the device.

Final Thoughts

Ultrasonic pest repellers work by emitting sound waves at a high frequency that drives pests crazy and out of your home. These sounds are inaudible to babies and adults. Several studies and reviews have shown that ultrasonic pest repellers cannot pose severe harm or adverse effects on the health of your babies and pets. This makes them a safe option to deter pests at home.

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