Can Bed Bugs Be Repelled by Using a High-Frequency Sound?

Bed bugs are definitely a nuisance. These insects can crawl into any part of your bed and hide so effectively that you can’t find them. It isn’t easy to get rid of them, and people often look for solutions at places some would consider unlikely. One of the possible solutions for bed bugs may be using sound to repel them. It’s been found that animals don’t like sounds that are pitched highly, and this could be a solution for repelling bed bugs. So, can bed bugs be repelled by using a high-frequency sound?

Bed bugs can’t be repelled by high-frequency sounds, or ultrasound frequencies, in other words. It’s very likely that bed bugs can’t even hear ultrasound. A study (2012) has proven that these devices aren’t effective at all when it comes to combating bed bugs. These tools are not repelling bed bugs.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the connection between sound and insects. We will be answering questions like what is sound, what is high frequency (ultrasonic) sound, can bed bugs hear sounds, can bed bugs hear ultrasounds, and lastly, can you repel bed bugs by using a high-frequency sound?

Let’s get started!

What Is Sound? (Short and Easy)

Sound is a vibration that’s propagated as an acoustic wave through a medium. The medium that we hear sound through is the air. When something vibrates, it repeatedly squeezes the air. A pressure wave is created that is transmitted through the air.

When it arrives at the human ear, it is transformed into a liquid wave and then converted into electrical impulses by sensory hairs. We interpret this signal as sound.

If the vibrations are stronger – the sound will be louder, and the sound will naturally become quieter as the waves lose energy.

The pitch is determined by the frequency of the vibrating object. And sometimes an ultrasound arises.

What Is High-Frequency Sound (Ultrasonic)?

Every sound changes due to its vibrations. Vibrating speed is essential when it comes to sound waves – this is what we call a pitch. Pitch is the quality of a sound, and it depends solely on the speed of vibrations. Different materials produce different pitches, as not all materials vibrate equally.

We hear high-pitched sounds if an object vibrates quickly, and we hear low-pitched sounds if an object vibrates slowly.

A sound of high frequency is usually difficult to hear. They’re very distinctive and easy to recognize, though. They’re measured at 2000 Hz and higher (like whistling, screaming, squeaking, nails on a chalkboard, and mosquito buzzing).

However, ultrasounds can’t be heard by the human ear, and they’re well over 20 kHz.

Dogs, for example, can hear and recognize these sounds, but humans usually can’t. As most sounds are made up of multiple vibrations, it’s possible to hear a part of an ultrasonic sound, but not the whole sound. Similar to seeing a blurred image.

Can Bed Bugs Hear Sounds? (Surprising Fact)

It’s still not very clear whether bed bugs can hear. This actually applies to all insects, as it’s still intensely debated whether insects can hear.

But some insects show reactions to sounds – not all sounds, but there are parts of the wave spectrum that cause reactions in some insect species as they detect a vibration.

So, basically yes, pests can “hear” somehow.

But they have very different organs with a very special structure. Cockroaches, for example, have a cerci organ that consists of a pair of jointed filamentous structures. These antennae can detect air movements around it (and sense approaching predators for example).

Mosquitoes, on the other hand, hear in the near field via Johnston’s organ, which in turn contains small antennae that can perceive vibrations.

However, these organs are not suitable for longer distances (from 10m). This usually requires an eardrum or tympanic organ.

Can Bed Bugs Hear Ultrasounds?

There is absolutely no empirical evidence that supports the claim that bed bugs can actually hear ultrasounds. Even if bedbugs were able to sense vibrations with their legs or fine hair, it is unlikely that this would include ultrasound.

Due to this limitation, it is not possible to repel bed bugs with ultrasound.

This assumption is impressively confirmed in this researchOpens in a new tab.. There were no documented reactions to ultrasounds from the bed bugs in question. They did not move any closer or further away from the source of the sound.

Can You Repel Bed Bugs by Using a High-Frequency Sound?

As it’s stated in the previous section, bed bugs don’t react to ultrasonic sounds – meaning that they aren’t repelled by them, just like they’re not attracted to them. In fact, they’ve stayed surprisingly neutral throughout the whole experiment.

They exhibited very strong tendencies to aggregate. At least half the bed bugs would concentrate on a neutral area during the experiment, seemingly showing that they’re not having any positive or negative reactions to the ultrasonic sound that way played.

Conclusions that can be drawn from this are obvious:

Ultrasound tools that are often promoted on the internet as ‘beg bug repellants’ are useless.

Sounds of a high frequency don’t repel bed bugs, and that’s been proven by several different pieces of research. If you take a look at this research, you’ll see that it was actually conducted using these very same tools (purchased on the internet), and the bed bugs didn’t have a reaction to them.

This goes to show that these devices are scams, as they’re completely ineffective, and they’re most definitely not going to solve anyone’s problem with bed bugs.

Also interested in UV-Light, pesticides, and natural remedies against Bed Bugs? You should continue here: Potential Bed Bug Killers and their Effectiveness (with table)


Martin is the head of and he loves to share his research and experience with you.

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