I am totally confused whether ask this question to physics or biology stackexchange.

I downloaded a mobile application which claims to repel mosquitoes. This application basically produces sound from 16kHz to 22kHz (I doubt that it even produces more than 20kHz because we can't hear more than 20kHz naturally).

I totally doubt this application. Do mosquitoes go away in higher frequency of sound?

  • $\begingroup$ Try to ask one question per post. As is often the case with UPDATE titles, what follows should be its own question. $\endgroup$
    – Shep
    May 2, 2012 at 17:54
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    – ASimonis
    Mar 25, 2022 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


After seeing your question, I decided to do a bit of research on the topic.

First Source: EurekAlert!


"Mosquito repellents that emit high-pitched sounds don't prevent bites"

Some key-points from the webpage:

A Cochrane Systematic Review of the use of electronic mosquito repellents (EMRs) failed to find any evidence that they work.
To test these claims a team of Cochrane Researchers conducted a systematic review looking for trials conducted with EMRs. They located ten field trials that had been carried out in various parts of the world. None of these trials showed any evidence that EMRs work.
All ten studies found that there was no difference in the number of mosquitoes found on the bare body parts of the human participants with or without an EMR

Second Source: Wikipedia


These electronic devices have been shown to have no effect as a mosquito repellent by studies done by the EPA and many universities.

Third Source: CBCnews

http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2007/04/18/mosquito-repellent.html Key points from the article:

"There was no evidence in the field studies to support any repelling effects of EMRs, hence >no evidence to support their promotion or use"             -Ahmadali Enayati, researcher

This is a major point as well:

The study also said that in 12 of the 15 experiments, the landing rates of mosquitoes on subjects was in fact higher than in control groups.

The article also points out that female mosquitoes can't hear very well- Which supports the idea that high-frequency repellents are ineffective; Much more than you probably think. Why? Well, it's pretty simple:

Female Mosquitoes are the only Gender that Bite.

Overall, when you consider the countless studies and research put in to the effects of high-frequency sounds on mosquitoes, it's pretty obvious that:


High Frequency Sounds do NOT repel mosquitoes

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  • 5
    $\begingroup$ All three sources reference the same study, and it's unfortunate that the details of the study haven't been made available for peer review. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2012 at 16:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Ok, so the results were published (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005434.pub2/full), but access to the article is not provided with the basic Wiley subscription package that (I assume) is available through most universities. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2012 at 16:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DanielStandage onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005434.pub2/… is the abstract where the relevant information is written: "All 10 studies found that there was no difference in the number of mosquitoes caught from the bare body parts of the human participants with or without an EMR". $\endgroup$ May 14, 2015 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ The paper is now available without dealing with a pay-wall. By the way, Wiley's website has this to say about the publication the paper was published in: "The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision making. Cochrane Reviews represent the highest level of evidence on which to base clinical treatment decisions. " $\endgroup$ Jan 23, 2016 at 2:48

Ultrasound emitting devices are used to repel mosquitoes. We tested the repelling properties of a commercially available ultrasound device in a domestic setting in Gabon. Devices emitting three different block frequencies ranging from 3 to 11 kHz were tested in a paired, cross-over blinded and placebo controlled trial during eighteen nights in nine pairs of houses. A total of 7485 mosquitoes (10% Anopheles, 62% Culex, 27% Mansonia and 1% Aedes) were caught, 23 per house per night. There was no significant difference in landing rate between the houses with ultrasound device and the houses with placebo for any species of mosquito. Thus the ultrasound device used was not effective against mosquitoes in this strictly controlled trial.

Sylla el-H K, Lell B, Kremsner PG. A blinded, controlled trial of an ultrasound device as mosquito repellent. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift. 2000 May;112(10) 448-450. PubMed PMID: 10890136.

A bibliographic review about the use of electroacoustic devices with a supposed repellent action on the females of different species of hematophagous mosquitoes is presented. 15 direct references and 2 indirect ones are given, in which it is concluded that these devices do not protect those who have them from the stings of mosquitoes. The names of 9 of the tested devices as well as of 16 of the main species of mosquitoes present in the field tests are mentioned. These tests have been carried out in very different ecological conditions from Alaska to Equatorial Africa. It is also stressed that the high intensity ultrasonic frequencies emitted by these devices produces a potentially harmful effect on man.

Rev Cubana Med Trop. 1998;50(2):89-92.

[Electronic repellents against mosquitoes: the propaganda and the reality].

[Article in Spanish]

Coro F(1), Suárez S.

Author information: (1)Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba.

PMID: 10349423 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

  • $\begingroup$ Answers are supposed to be written by yourself and not only consist of a citation. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 14, 2015 at 19:16
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Chris I am not an expert in the field, what do I need to add to an abstract? I think it is self explanatory, doesn't it? $\endgroup$ May 14, 2015 at 19:20

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