With bed bugs bunking just about everywhere these days, people battling the bloodsucking insects may be tempted to try their hand at driving them away. But ultrasonic bug zappers, which retail for less than $25, aren't the solution, say entomologists who tested some of the devices.
Northern Arizona researchers Kasey Yturralde and Richard W. Hofstetter tried out four different ultrasonic devices available on Amazon: one designed specifically for bedbugs and three that claimed to repel insects and small furry mammalian pests.
Their simple experimental design consisted of two 5-gallon buckets lined with sound-muffling insulation that were connected by a tube. An ultrasonic device was placed in one bucket, and eight to 10 bed bugs were placed in the tube.
More care was given to how the bedbugs were housed in the lab. The researchers kept them in large jars, like those used for canning, which were placed in bins full of soapy water. And every lip or edge over which a rogue bed bug would have to crawl was covered in a slippery substance a little like liquid Teflon, Yturralde says, to keep them from escaping.
In test after test, the bed bugs showed no preference for either bucket. None of the four devices drove the bed bugs away.
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