Can we come up with ways to make sonic sound repellant devices actually useful?
Sonic pest deterrent devices are equipment that use a range of acoustic spectrums to repel, deter or kill unwanted animals such as insects, rodents, birds and large animals. The range of sound usually depends on the animals that are targeted, from infrasonic (<20Hz) to ultrasonic (>18000Hz).
These devices operate with a battery or grid-powered energy source. In theory, they work by disrupting normal acoustic communication of target pests and driving them away by means of annoyance, fear or confusion. Infrasonic and ultrasonic sound ranges are inaudible to humans, and this makes them even more convenient to operate.
Currently, there are several commercially available sonic pest repellent devices. However, when actually tested with control experiments, they have turned out to be largely ineffective, despite the claims of the producers. This doesn’t mean that this approach is completely useless. Indian meal moth and Canadian geese, for example, have been shown to be controlled by using sound .
So what has been the bottleneck?
Studies in the scientific laboratory setting that gauged several pest control devices showed that most devices are ineffective. One of the major caveats has been ‘habituation’. Though the devices show promise in the start, after a certain time, the pests learn to not be offended by the sounds. Also, ultrasonic devices marketed for rodent control generally do not generate sound with an intensity of more than 130 dB at a distance of 1 m from the speaker.
As such, the challenge is to drastically improve present-day sonic repellent devices for a wide range of pests.
-what technical upgrades in terms of sound, pitch, and frequency can be made?
-what biologically relevant sounds can be used?
-can we leverage AI and automation to make this technology widespread?