Electronic Mosquito Repellents Don’t Work

Electronic plug-in anti-insect gadgets that claim to emit high-frequency sounds inaudible to the human ear have been sold for quite a few years. If its any judge of their popularity, they have also been put on as an  item to purchase in in-flight sales of many of the world’s popular airlines, Singapore Airlines and British Airways included.

Claimed to drive away female mosquitoes because these devices emit a high-frequency sound (males do not bite humans), these devices are ubiquitously displayed in most home improvement shops. I recently purchased one after being convinced on the label that there has been “extensive scientific research undertaken to confirm the efficacy of this product”. The promo blurp adds that it was  harmless  to humans…apart from a possible dent to one’s pockets, that is.

I should have known better..after proclaiming many times about the necessity of solid scientific evidence to back various cures and remedies.

An article in the Cochrane Library ( a reputable resource for doctors for evidence in healthcare decision-making) quickly dispelled the lack of effectiveness of these devices. After compiling 10 studies, it found that there was no evidence in the field studies to support any repelling effects of these repellents;  hence there was no evidence to support their promotion or use.

This has led to some of the major airlines like KLM literally pulling the plug on its sale on-board. Anyone looking for a slightly-used electronic repellent?

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3 responses

  1. Hahaha. Even as an engineer, I too (OFTEN) fall for scams in the engineering world (car fuel/electricity saving devices).

  2. Ha ha Doc, you would have to compensate me for taking the ineffective ‘electronic mosquito’ gadget off your hands! On the same subject matter, those patch thing on sale in pharmacies (claiming to repel mosquito) do not work too!
    In fact, nothing is more effective than one’s pair of hands, doing the clapping and hitting to repel and rid of these pests!
    Doctor2008 replies: Not sure whether clapping with your hands is effective nowadays – do you realise those pesky mosquitoes no longer fly around your ears anymore? They tend to attack your legs – where its difficult to hit them! Darwin’s theory in action – survival of the fittest.:)

  3. Oh well. It was definitely a cool idea. Here’s another approach to mosquito control that prevents mosquitoes from urinating therefore stopping them from removing the salt content in human blood and therefore causing them to die. Definitely a good read. http://cbt20.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/if-it-can%e2%80%99t-pee-it-won%e2%80%99t-bite-me/

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