U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

September 2003


Published by Integrated Pest Management Reviews 7: 29–45, 2002. © 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.


Wildlife is often responsible for causing extensive damage to personal property, human health and safety concerns, and other nuisance problems because of their feeding, roosting, breeding, and loafing habits. Frightening devices are tools used in integrated wildlife damage management to reduce the impacts of animals, but the effectiveness of such devices is often variable. An animal’s visual and auditory capabilities affect how the animal will respond to a stimulus. Frightening devices include pyrotechnics, gas exploders, effigies, lights, lasers, reflective objects, guard animals, bioacoustics, and ultrasonic devices. We examined scientific literature on the use of frightening devices to reduce bird and mammal depredation and compiled results to determine the effectiveness of such devices. When used in an integrated system, frightening devices may be more effective than when used alone. We conclude that the total elimination of damage may be impossible, but frightening devices and/or combinations of devices are useful in reducing wildlife damage. Ultrasonic frightening devices are ineffective in repelling birds and mammals whereas other devices offer some protection. The timely use of a variety of frightening devices can be part of a cost-effective integrated system to reduce wildlife damage to tolerable levels.