Do electronic insect repellents work?

Written by rena sherwood
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Do electronic insect repellents work?
Mosquitos and other insects ignore electronic repellents. (mosquito image by Daniel Wiedemann from

Manufacturers of electronic insect repelling devices claim their products scare away bugs through noise. The noises cannot be heard by people but are purported to be incredibly irritating to insects such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, ants, fleas, spiders and flies.

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Studies of the use of electronic devices to repel mosquitoes and German cockroaches have concluded that ultrasonic or electromagnetic noise is ineffective. The insects ignored the noise.


Electronic mosquito repellents are sold on aeroplanes to tourists going to countries with malaria despite lack of scientific backing. In 2010, KLM Royal Dutch Airline became the first airline to stop selling the devices.

Challenge and Defiance

In 2001, the Federal Trade Commission sent warnings to 60 makers of so-called electronic insect repellents, telling them that their claims must be supported by scientific evidence. Despite the warning and the absence of such evidence, the manufacture and marketing of such devices continues.

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