USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version

August 1995


A wide variety of sonic/ultrasonic, electromagnetic, mechanical/vibrational, and electrical barrier devices have been researched, developed, and marketed over the past 30 years. Although there are currently no Environmental Protection Agency' (EPA) registration requirements, human safety and repellent efficacy test data for these devices may be requested whenever they are commercially manufactured, marketed, and retailed. This chapter reviews research reports and data sets for devices operating at selected frequency ranges, pulse rates, duty cycles, and intensity levels. It also describes examples of laboratory and field test protocols as well as recent EPA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulatory actions in relation to the compliance requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), respectively. State regulations may be imposed on manufacturers and retailers of repellent devices when they are carried as stock items through local stores or through mail-order service companies. Controlled efficacy test protocols have indicated only marginal repellency effects with six commercial ultrasonic devices (i.e., 30-50% reduction in movement activity), and rapid habituation (i.e., no significant repellency effects beyond 3 to 7 days of exposure). An analysis follows of research and development attempts to reduce habituation effects, to incorporate and integrate ultrasonic devices into traditional rodent control methods and to improve efficacy.