Laureen Dunbar of Sacramento sent me an e-mail. She wanted to know if this works.
So tonight we buy and try it.
It could be the answer to your pest problems. The Black and Decker Electronic Repeller uses ultrasonic waves to drive out mice, cockroaches, spiders and other pests. Sounds cool, but does it work? To see, we searched for the perfect place with a lot of bugs.
“We’re the 7th largest bug collection in north America,” said Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis entomology professor.
Yep, here it is: the UC Davis entomology museum with 7-million insects.
Professor Lynn Kimsey offered to let us use her critters.
“It drives out spiders mice cockroaches, and other pests you can use it around your cats and dogs and fish,” said Lynn.
It’s supposedly safe for your pets. She’s already a skeptic. “Anything that’s going to drive a mouse out of your house is going to drive out your cats and dogs out too, they roughly hear the same frequencies,” said Lynn.
Okay, let’s try it out on these lovable creatures first–the death head cockroaches. Gross.
There are hundreds in here. Lynn says no way. It won’t work, for a very simple reason: “Cockroaches don’t have ears. There’s no way they could hear anything,” said Lynn.
Alright, let’s plug it in.
Kurtis: Well the lights on I think that means we have ignition here. Alright let’s see if it drives these guys nuts.
Our heads looking in, we watch and watch and watch.
Lynn: They’re doing absolutely nothing.
Kurtis: This guy’s curious.
After some time a cockroach climbs right on top of our machine that’s supposed to annoy it with no apparent effect at all!
Kurtis: Ideal for medium rooms.
Maybe it’ll work on spiders.
Kurtis: Let’s try this one, the Mexican pink tarantula.
We drop in our machine and wait.
“I don’t think you can get less activity if you tried honestly,” said Lynn. “I think if you want to throw your money away it’s a great thing to buy.”
But we wonder about mice. For that we head to Pet Connection on Auburn Boulevard. Owner Jay Schulte has lots of rodents just like the pests in your garage.
Kurtis: Do you think they’ll be phased by this thing?
Jay: Not much fazes them. Nuclear blow-out: maybe.
So we drop the pest repeller in and under the watchful eye of this tortoise we test it out. Right away it doesn’t appear to be driving out any mice.
Kurtis: This guy loves it
How about a rat? Nope, it walks right up to it. And an even larger rat? Nope. At one point, all of them seem amused by it.
Jay: They love that thing. Yeah, they’re all getting up on it.
Both of our testers, call it a failure.
Jay: I wouldn’t buy it.