Ultrasonic bug repellants

In the current letter on Cecil’s column, he says these ultrasonic devices are useless against roaches.

Has anybody dropped a bunch of roaches near these bug repellers to see what they do?

I bet they don’t like it. But what do I know maybe they are attracted to the sound.

Try it and let us all know.

This refers to the mailbag column, http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/multrasonic.html . I’m moving it to the Mailbag forum.

Effectiveness against roaches: If you throw the sonic bug repeller at a roach, very hard, and hit directly, you can squish the li’l bugger flat.

Even though they don’t work, they’re still a popular scam. U.S. News and World Report has a full page ad on page 51, typical crap about the wonders of ultrasound. It offers a 90 day money back refund if you’re not satisfied. I think if they do that they can sell you a bag of rocks and claim it improves your memory. It’s 78$ too, so they’re making out like bandits. They know that most people buy these for someone else, so they don’t get returned. I’m surprised it doesn’t say “for entertainment purposes only” in small print somewhere.

In response to Bletchley’s post - no, I don’t think roaches like ultrasound. I base this thought on an incident I witnessed in Grand Central Station:

A well dressed lady raced for a train to Connecticut on the lower level, didn’t make it, started to trudge back toward the stairs to the upper level. All of a sudden she stopped dead in her tracks, pointed at the floor, and said, “Oh my God. Oh my God! This is terrible! Somebody, do something!”

I walked a little closer to see what she was pointing at, and saw one of those delightful, reddish-brown, 3-inch long roaches that love to call the train tracks home. Seeing me approach, she demanded that I step on it, which of course I refused to do. Her voice rose in volume and hysteria as she insisted that “somebody has to DO something!”

By now, the attention of a nearby NYC Transit cop was captured by this display, and a handful of bike messengers were doubled over laughing nearby. “Shoot it, shoot it!” they yelled. The cop muttered, “Shoot it?! It’d probably shoot back.” The cop put one hand on his nightstick for a moment, as if contemplating squishing the roach to death; then he removed a small device from his belt, which looked like the ultrasonic zapper they aim at unruly dogs, and pointed it at the roach.

The roach, which up until then had been making its way calmly across the floor, suddenly began to buzz loudly and ran unbelievably fast in a series of tight circles before heading off in a straight line - right toward the hysterical woman. With a piercing shriek, she ran for the upper level, the roach ran back toward the train tracks, and the rest of us had a pretty good laugh…

Now that IS a good story.

Well, who wants to repel an ultrasonic bug? :smiley:

“If you drive an automobile, please drive carefully–because I walk in my sleep.”–Victor Borge