How effective are sonic animal/termite deterrents?

I find the whole idea of using a sonic animal deterrent somewhat loathsome. The whole idea is to find a noise that distresses animals to such an extent that they will stay away from the area - which suggests to me that it involves animal cruelty.

The idea is similar to that of playing high-pitched noises in public places so that troubled ‘yoofs’ do not hang around causing trouble, without inconveniencing those who are older and more sober in behaviour… and have lost some hearing. In this latter case one must as whether we have considered why young people are hanging around train stations causing trouble rather than hanging around in any of the other places we have failed to provide for them?


Teenagers used to do that using music - doesn’t work with mine, they like my music :wink:


But inconveniencing even more so the youth who aren’t out for your gall bladder or whatever it is they do.

“Cruelty” factor with sonic repellents is zero. It’s analogous to your behaviour around an intense heat source - as you move closer, it becomes uncomfortable (not painful) so you move away. The animals don’t suffer pain or distress - they just don’t like the sound and move away. A far better option than culling in my view.


If only they worked, they definitely would be a much better option!

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See my previous post - in our situation, I’m convinced they do work! We have turned our unit on and off a few times now and when it’s off, the possums are back within a few days. When it’s on, they stay away. Be as sceptical as you please - I’m happy wth our unit.

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Have you written down your data?

Do you mean have I counted and documented the number of possum poops at our front door when the unit is on compared to when the unit is off? No I haven’t - I have a life :slight_smile: However, we are talking about the difference between none and a lot!

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Our brains are wired to find patterns in everything; it’s how we survived as a species. One of those pattern recognition processes often leads to something called ‘confirmation bias’ (fitting data into a preconceived notion, such as the efficacy of a product). We all remember things how we want to remember them, sometimes changing minor details unknowingly (it’s how our brain does things), so it’s always helpful to write things down to know for sure if there is any difference. :slight_smile:


Are we talking insects and bugs as well?

I can’t find it online anywhere, but the Checkout had a comprehensive segment on mosquito deterrents a year or so ago. I also looked at the website of the entomologist who was in the segment. In the segment or on his website it was mentioned that sonic, electromagnetic and similar insect repellant gadgets didn’t work. I have also heard this stated in an interview with an entomologist on The Naked Scientists podcast a few years ago.

I am surprised that given that mosquito-borne diseases are becoming a serious health threat there is no Australian standard for insect repellants of any type. (I looked into this at the time.)

What loophole allows for these products to be sold if there is no evidence to back them up? Is it just a case of not enough consumers complaining or asking for claims to be investigated? Is CHOICE going to test them? (Although that might not be possible, given the strict rules on animal testing. A university or other accredited organisation could do it.)


While we have a repellent buying guide, we haven’t tested repellents. It could be a possibility in the future though.

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We got those little plastic sonic deterrents for the car… you have to put them in the right place for them to work… Kangaroos were definitely aware of the noise and we had less Kangaroos in our path at night so assume it was working. Spoke to a number of truckies also and the ones that had them swore by them. For a few bucks, if it potentially helps avoid road kill, I’m quite happy to invest.

I couldn’t see my mother-in-law on that list! Then again, while she’s quite repellent she probably isn’t for sale.


Heheh if your partner sends that comment to your Mum in Law you may well suffer more repelling than you accounted for :slight_smile:

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Soprano or contralto? Glass shattering high or just 110db ear splitting loud? Assume your MiL is into opera and you are not?

Do mice really understand or even respond to opera anyway?

More practical and less expensive.
Evidently cicada aren’t that fussed with opera either preferring their own chorus at much more than 120db.
Might bring some into the kitchen and test them out as all natural, green and locally grown sonic deterrents. Effective against most known pests and unwanted visitors, other than those direct marketing phone calls. Can cicada be trained to answer the phone?

I am looking for an effective mosquito repellent, I have found a company that produces noise-emitters for different pests, sold only in EU, I would love to know if they work - and why they don’t spread their customer base. The electric version that produce a scent are ineffective in Indonesia - or just my blood that is so desirable.

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Mosquitoes seek out Carbon Dioxide and other scents and you might be a mosquito magnet like you think you are. They are more attracted to Type O and least to type A bloods. They detect and are attracted to Lactic Acid which we produce on exercise and the sweating in a humid climate doesn’t help either for the Body Odour we produce. Some people also secrete saccharides and antigens because of their biological makeup (genes) and these attract mosquitoes.

DEET, picaridin or IR3535 based insect repellants work best as they discourage mozzies and confuse the receptors on mosquitoes so they are less inclined to bite you. Use fans to move the air around you, this has two effects 1) it moves the CO2 and the other odours around confusing the mozzies and 2) they aren’t the best flyers so it makes it harder for them to make you their target. Avoid exercising or working outside at dusk and dawn as this is the most active time for most breeds of mozzies. Have a good shower using soap before going to bed to remove as much odour as possible.

Spend your money if you like on sound emitters as someone somewhere will be grateful for the income it produces for them and the mozzies will perhaps enjoy the extra sounds as they go about their drilling and sucking.

The electronic insect control scent emitters depending on what they release can be somewhat effective if they are close to where you are, but they need to use DEET or similar so it will affect the mozzies’ receptors but the devices need to be very near to you for the effect you require. I am not sure I would want to breathe DEET or similar in every night and so putting it on the skin is the safer alternative.


Yes, I am type 0 - it’s common, but even so, have always been more susceptible to bites than anyone else around me.
Mosquitoes I meet in Indonesia seem almost impervious to DEET, and I don’t think it’s good on skin or breathing it all the time, though it’s preferrable to getting malaria etc. Not yet tried picardin alone there, Bushman’s I have has DEET as well. I haven’t heard of IR3535.

Tea tree oil seems to discourage them more than DEET - but a souped-up version of eucalyptus oil [readily bought in Indonesia, called Kayu Putih or Cajuput ] is more effective - but even with that, those wretches can’t resist having a taste of me! Vit B tablets also help. More testing to be done.


IR3535 (Insect Repellent 3535) or ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate is a colourless and nearly odourless oil. It can be used on infants/babies and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, is biodegradable and has a fairly good effectiveness against Mosquitoes, ticks etc.


Background: Developed in Germany by Merck in early 1980s; registered in U.S. in 1999. Chemical name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester. Derived from the amino acid alanine.

Effectiveness: Potential duration of effectiveness: Up to 8 hours. Refer to product label.

Safety: From the EPA: “IR3535 has been used as an insect repellent in Europe for 20 years with no substantial adverse effects. Toxicity tests show that IR3535 is not harmful when ingested, inhaled, or used on skin.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has made no recommendation on the use of IR3535."

Re Picardin


Background: DEET alternative developed primarily in Europe beginning in 1998; available in U.S. since 2005. Chemical name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester. Also known as KBR 3023.

Types: Max concentration currently available: 20%. Protects for up to 8 hours. Refer to product label. In the future, higher concentrations may be available following more toxicology testing.

Safety: Does not damage fabrics, surfaces or materials. For kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics has made no recommendation on the use of picaridin. All repellents should be kept off infants under 2 months.

Note on effectiveness: Considered more effective against flies than DEET."

As to your desirability to Mozzies you may secrete the saccharides and antigens as mentioned above and that makes you a much nicer target for them. This is something that is in your genetic makeup and unfortunately cannot be altered but if needing to lay blame you can point at your parents and ancestors :grin:


I have a friend we ask over often because no one else gets bitten while he’s around :wink: But it is interesting… I personally don’t get bothered by mozzies… I’ve seen them sucking my blood but I just don’t react is the same way as some others… both my parents and my brother all get bites so unsure why they don’t touch me.