Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Safe for Birds?

by Derrick | Last Updated: December 25, 2020

Ultrasonic pest repellers are one of the common ways to get rid of pests and unwanted guests in our homes. While these devices may be effective against pests, there are also concerns about whether they are safe to use around pet birds. 

Ultrasonic pest repellers are safe for birds because they produce high-frequency sound waves above their hearing range. However, some birds can be sensitive to high volume sounds and tones, so check for any unusual or aggressive behaviors in your bird.

To fully understand how these devices can affect your birds, it’s important to know what they are and how they work. In the rest of this article, you’ll learn about ultrasonic repellers, how they work, and the effects they may have on birds. We’ll also consider some of the main benefits and drawbacks of these devices.

What Are Ultrasonic Pest Repellers?

Ultrasonic repellers work by producing high-frequency sounds to drive away or injure rodents, insects, and other pests. The high-frequency sound disorients or irritates the pests, and they look for safer places.

Ultrasonic pest repellents come in different styles and models. These devices produce varying sound frequencies and volumes, depending on their intended purpose. Typically, ultrasonic repellents can cover distances up to 3,600 sq. ft. and large areas with multiple speakers.

Most ultrasonic repellers are designed to be plugged into wall outlets, but battery-powered options are available depending on your needs. Based on the purpose and place of use, some ultrasonic repellents are meant for outdoor use, indoor use, or for use in vehicles such as cars and boats.

How Do Ultrasonic Repellers Work?

Ultrasonic repellers produce “ultrasounds,” which, according to Wikipedia, refers to sounds at frequencies greater than 20 kHz (or kilohertz). Generally, anything above this frequency cannot be heard by the human ear. While the actual limit can vary from individual to individual, it is approximately 20 kHz, even for the healthiest human. 

Many animals, including rodents, bats, and dogs, can hear above the ultrasonic range. Also, insects such as locusts and grasshoppers can hear sound frequencies as high as 50,000 Hz to 100,000 Hz. Thus, the logic behind these devices is to produce sound audible and harmful to rodents and pests but inaudible to humans.

The high-frequency sound produced by repellers increases the body temperature of pests or causes audiogenic seizure responses in them. This effect is also accompanied by directionless running, convulsions, or even deaths.

The effect of an ultrasonic repeller on pests is not only determined by its sound frequency but also on the volume at which it produces its sounds. As a result, family pets such as cats and dogs may not be bothered by these sounds, but the volume may disturb them. 

If you have rabbits or hamsters as pets, using ultrasonic repellers can have a negative effect on them. 

How Do Ultrasonic Repellers Affect Pet Birds?

According to research by the University of Nebraska, birds hear best within the 1 to 4 kHz frequency range. While there is a variation between different bird species, no species can hear above ultrasonic frequencies (>20 kHz). 

Even songbirds with high-pitched voices can only detect up to 20 kHz, and species like oilbirds and swiftlets only operate between 1 and 15 kHz.

Since birds have similar hearing capabilities with humans, ultrasonic pest repellers would not affect your birds negatively. However, depending on your bird species, high sound intensities and loud noises may damage their auditory receptors. Continued exposure to these noises may cause permanent damage to their hearing

As a result, if you use ultrasonic pest repellers in your home, observe your birds and check for any signs of stress or unusual behaviors. If your birds appear sensitive to these devices, you may need to use them at lower volumes or consider other pest control options. 

Perks of Using Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers are one of the greatest pest control inventions, and there are reasons why many people use them. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons.

Humane Way of Controlling Pests

Unlike pesticides or poison bait chemicals, ultrasonic repellers offer a safer and environmentally-friendly way to eliminate pests. Pesticides can be harmful to non-targets, such as contamination and death of pets, loss of birds or fishes, and groundwater contamination. 

Pesticides or pest control poison can also be dangerous if you have young children in your home. Some pest poisons can cause significant health issues or even death if ingested. 

Relatively Inexpensive

Most ultrasonic devices are moderately priced, and with several options available, you can easily find one to fit your budget. Usually, the more features and coverage an ultrasonic repeller has, the more expensive it is.

Require Little Maintenance

Ultrasonic repellers don’t consume a lot of power and require little to no maintenance. All you need to do is plug the device into a wall outlet, and it’s ready for use. No messy glues, traps, or powders involved.

Drawbacks of Using Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

As with all pest control options, ultrasonic repellers have some downsides. One of the main arguments is whether they are effective as manufacturers claim them to be.

Uncertainty About Their Effectiveness

Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence to back up the effectiveness of ultrasonic repellers. While there has been much research and tests by manufacturers, these studies’ results show that these devices may not be completely effective in pest and rodent control. 

One such study carried out by Kansas State University found that these devices may not work against every pest. According to the research, these devices do not affect spiders and ants. Other studies, such as the one published in the “Journal of Vector Ecology,” reported that the device attracted pests instead of repelling them.

Sound Cannot Cover Large Distances

Most ultrasonic repellers only produce soundwaves that travel short distances before being blocked by walls, furniture, or other objects. To get them to be truly effective, you may need to install several devices around the house. However, the corded versions of these devices may have better coverage.

Pests May Become Accustomed to the Noise

Rodents and insects may get used to the noise of ultrasonic repellers after some time. Being accustomed to the noise means the device will become less effective as the pests realize it means no physical harm.

May Be Unsafe for House Pets

According to most manufacturers, ultrasonic repellers don’t affect dogs and cats. Cats and dogs can hear above ultrasonic frequencies, but they are mostly unbothered by these sounds. However, these devices can be a nuisance when used at the maximum volume, especially for pets with a nervous disposition.

Cats and dogs may display anxious behavior, backing away, hiding, tail tucking, inappropriate scratching, and whining or barking as signs of distress to ultrasonic pest repellers. 

If you have rabbits or rodent pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, and chinchillas in your home, ultrasonic repellers can make them distressed and uncomfortable. These devices can also have negative effects on frogs, reptile pets, and fish pets.

Conclusion

Ultrasonic repellers are a safe way to control pests and rodents. These devices emit high-frequency sound waves that make the environment uncomfortable for pests, but usually above the human hearing range. 

As far as pet birds are concerned, ultrasonic pest repellers are safe to use. Like humans, birds cannot hear into the frequency produced by these devices and aren’t affected by the sounds. However, if your bird shows any signs of discomfort or aggressive behavior to ultrasonic devices, discontinue their use. 

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