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Combating Harassing Use of Mosquito Noise Device? 1059

amicold asks: "For a while now my neighborhood has had to deal with an elderly neighbor who has displayed a slightly paranoid attitude towards myself and the fellow younger-adults of the neighborhood, believing us to be attempting to harass him in our day-to-day activities. Recently, he installed a Mosquito ultrasonic noise device as an apparent attempt to 'get back at us' for our harassment. As the Mosquito emits a sound that's well out of his hearing range, he can't hear it, while most of the rest of the neighborhood is under 40 and can; at which point it's causing everyone a great deal of discomfort. Unfortunately, because the police also can't hear it, we can't get the authorities to do anything about it, leaving us empty-handed in our attempts at getting some peace and quiet back. What can we do to either help the police realize how disturbing this device is, or counteract it so that it's no longer disturbing us? And is this the first of what may be a growing trend of civilians using high-tech discomfort weapons as a method of neighborhood warfare?"
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Combating Harassing Use of Mosquito Noise Device?

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  • right back at them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:00AM (#15850628)
  • Try this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:06AM (#15850656)

    Take pictures of it. Print out the link you have in your post and any other documentation you can find on the thing. Ask a community service officer from the police to come out. She will probably be a she. She will probably be young, and since not carrying a gun, will not have spent a bunch of time on the firing range ruining her hearing. She will hear it, and since the docs clearly show it is designed to be annoying, she will be on your side. Probably. Maybe. You can try it and hope, anyway.

    Plan B. You like Hendrix, right? With breakfast. Early. Turn it up to eleven.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:07AM (#15850663)
    I think the only way to go is the legal route. Try to get a young police officer. If that fails, get an expert that can measure the signal and testify about ist impact on younger people. I would be surprised very much if hwat your neoghbour does is legal.
  • Beat frequency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:10AM (#15850680) Homepage Journal

    Build a similar device to emit noise at a slightly different frequency. The result will be horrible sounds as the two waves interfere. The horrible sounds will seem to come from both your source and the original source. You may get the blame but at least the cops/etc will believe that an issue exists.

  • by jpardey ( 569633 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .yedrap_j.> on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:22AM (#15850715)
    Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom Bwoom..... That would be some killer kick.
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:23AM (#15850724) Journal
    Am I the only one that thinks this is a novel Slashvertizement?

    How many of you thought "hmmmm. I could use this to really annoy xxx"?

    And note that the link goes to a specifc supplier of such items. Not a generic link.... say a wiki. I mean, who really believes that some guy cannot get a cop under 40. Cannot figure out that he should talk to the police and explain more, or maybe go to see a lawyer... or maybe sneak into his neighbor's year with a baseball bat and a ski mask?
  • Re:Try this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tlosk ( 761023 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @12:57AM (#15850830)
    There was a piece on NPR radio a few weeks ago about an inventor who is marketing a device similar to the mosquito one in this article only it is specifically desinged to be annoying to teenagers (he had problems with them congregating in front of his store). Amusingly his daughter then subverted it for her own use by creating ringtones of the noise so that she could turn her phone on during school (since vibra mode can still be audible in a quiet classroom) and none of the teachers can hear it even though everyone else can lol.

    They even had the ringtone as a downloadable ringtone there (you can't of course hear it at all if you're over 25 or so, as you age you lose the ability to hear in those outlier frequency ranges).

    Here's a link to the story: Id=5434687 []
  • Re:I hear nothing? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Mo6eB ( 832959 ) <Mo6eeeB@g m a> on Saturday August 05, 2006 @01:33AM (#15850932) Homepage

    Tried turning up your speakers? I can hear it and it is bloody annoying. I do not think I would be able to restrain myself from killing, or at least infilcting great bodily harm to the owner for more than 5 minutes, should he refuse to stop the device.

  • Re:£495 ...? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @01:41AM (#15850950) Journal
    Well, I'm of the mind they *are* making a lot of noise carelessly; I have neighbors that do so, and don't seem to give a damn. His reaction sounds exactly like something I want to do to people who are disrespectful to me like that. Except that I have very sensitive hearing, so that would hurt me too.

    Why did it never occur to them that they might just be experiencing what he was previously? Are they reading to negotiate a deal, which would require admitting they did exactly what he's doing?
  • by CrashRoX ( 783286 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @02:45AM (#15851124)
    If war is what he wants, war is what he will get! This is sure to drive him more nuts then the mosquitoes from his little ultra violet toy... Which by the way is about 5 times as costly as my solution. Use with extreme caution... The device I speak of is called "sonic nausea". This is the blurb from their site: "Sonic Nausea is a small electronic device which can really turn one's stomach. It generates a unique combination of ultra-high frequency sound waves which soon leads most in its vicinity to queasiness. It can also cause headaches, intense irritation, sweating, imbalance, nausea, or even vomiting. Hiding this device in your inconsiderate neighbors house might put an end to their late night parties. The abusive bureaucrat's office, the executive lunchroom... the possibilities are endless for that small portion of inventive payback. The unique soundwave characteristics make directional source determination difficult. Powered by one 9-volt battery (not included). For extended run time two AA batteries in a battery pack with transistor clips (available from most electronics stores) can be used instead. Use with discretion." Only $49.99!!! - [] If you do go with this method, please post a follow up or pictures :)
  • I call bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @02:47AM (#15851133) Homepage
    There's no way the little beeper in a phone would be able to reproduce the sound. For one thing the audio stage would filter it off, and it's unlikely the compression used would let anything that high through. Furthermore, if they want to be alerted to SMSes without their teacher hearing, why not stick their phone on vibrate?
  • by EverLurking ( 595528 ) <slash&davechen,org> on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:14AM (#15851208) Homepage
    Looks like the speaker cone on the device is rather exposed.

    Betcha if you inject in some epoxy or expanding foam into said cone in quantities that won't be visible from the outside, the horn tweeter will stop making said annoying tone or at least attenuate the sound output or alter the frequency so that it won't be as bad.

    Do it right and it'll probably still look like it was still working this way too. Much faster than trying to disassemble something and disable it while making it look like it's still working. The old fart can't hear it anyways, so he'd never know that you'd broken the horn tweeter as many others have pointed out.

    You can also just go for a brute force/economic war approach:

    Your cost: A couple of bucks for a tube of quick setting epoxy with syringe type applicator. Or, if you don't want to do this manually or the unit isn't readily accessible try some home made/customized paint balls filled with acid/epoxy/superglue/something nasty His cost: $600-$750 + shipping per unit disabled.

    Just how many times do you think this guy will be able to afford to replace this device repeatedly? He's probably on fixed income so it's either the Mosquito or the Heart Medications/Doctor's Visits/Food/Heat/etc. The problem will soon go away given enough cheap paintballs I suspect.

    War after all is really a matter of economics. Does the damage you cause cost more to your opponent than it does to you and which of you can continue spending money while racking up damage/cost the longest? The guys with the biggest budget or the ability to do massive damage to the other side for cheaper usually wins.


  • Re:Who's paranoid ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LanceUppercut ( 766964 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:19AM (#15851219)
    I'm just amazed how many posters decide to spew their ignorant nonsense without even trying to understand the issue first! Several posetrs here referred to some "mosquito problem". What mosquito problem??? Do you have any idea about the purpose of "mosquito noise device"? Did you care to follow the link and get a clue first before posting?

    For the lazy clueless types: the mosquito noise device has nothing to do with any actual mosquitos or "mosquito problems". The purpose of the device is to annoy young people in order to prevent them from congregating in certain areas. For example, some store owners don't like seeing teenagers gather in front of their stores (drives away customers). The mosquito noise device is specifically designed for the purpose of creating unbearable conditions for those teenagers in order to drive them away. The idea is that young people hear and get extermely annoyed by high frequency (mosquito) noise, while older people simply don't hear it.

    So stop embarassing yourself with references to "mosquito problem". If the old man is really using that specific device, then the only reason he is using it is to annoy and harass those young people. The device has no other use of purpose.
  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stellian ( 673475 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:21AM (#15851225)
    There's no way the little beeper in a phone would be able to reproduce the sound.
    Well, I've just tried that mp3 ringtone on my K750i Sony Ericsson, and I can hear it very clearly from the other room. On the other hand, my 54 y/o mom can't, and my 29 y/o brother sais it's faint. In 24 myself.
    That sound is only 15 KHz, and the mp3 has 48Khz sampling rate. And the buzzer in the mobile is perfectly able to reproduce high frequencies, it's the low freqs that cannot be reproduced.
  • by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:33AM (#15851262)
    I love the way everyone here says to go over and break his stuff.... Lovely...

    Ok, so he's probably an annoying old paranoid crank. He's not going to stop being annoying. If you go over and break his stuff, he'll just become more annoying.

    So don't go starting a neighborhood war.

    You might try... oh... I don't know... TALKING to him about it? You know, person to person? And leave your attitude at the door.

    If that fails, and it may well do so, go talk to your neighbors. Get about 20 of you. go knock on his door together and POLITELY state that his little toy is driving the entire neighborhood nuts and you'd all really appreciate him turning it off. Bring food. Make it an event. Hell, throw a neighborhood barbecue while you're at it.

    Don't consider the situation an obstruction to be overcome. Instead, consider it a chance to meet your neighbors. Who knows, you might find out they are actual people, with lives and interests and stuff. Who knew?

    And shame on those of you who immediately decided the best course of action was to go on a shadowrun against an old man. Sheesh.. People...

  • Re:Hmmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cheesygrapes ( 927272 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:43AM (#15851287)
    Yep, From the human rights review in the legal section (there's something about this in the questions too but they seem to be more truthful in the legal section, mentioning that it actually can cause hearing damage in long term exposure): "2. As the transmission of the sound produced by the Device is directional and as high frequency wavelengths do not travel through solid objects, we do not consider that it is likely that the Device will cause a nuisance to neighbours of its users. " Since this is not heard by adults because it is a very high frequency and since it doesn't travel that far even through open air, I doubt it could bemuch of bother sleeping nearby or such since you wouldn't be able to hear it through the walls of your house.
  • A classic choice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ydra2 ( 821713 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:56AM (#15851311)
    You could escalate the conflict by using high tech countermeasures which will piss him off and turn his relatives and friends against you, or make peace and have a nice quiet neighborhood. Hmmm, which way to go, never ending warfare on the one hand, or peace and quiet on the other?

    If you go with high tech warefare then you will stimulate the economy by propping up the companies selling sonic noise cancelling systems. And he will of course provide even more stimulation to the economy when he installs an infra-red insect repellent that fries your border plants. And then you have to invest in a cryogenic thermal redirection unit to protect your flowers, after which he will escalate with a plastic dissolving mist spray device, all great news for the high tech neighborhood armament corporations, aka, the militarized neighborhood complex.

    This will be fraught with unforseen complications and collateral damage. Your paper boy will refuse delivery, the water meter reader will not dare enter the property, causing an unpaid bill, and various charges about maliciously killing pets will pop up. You can stay the course until he gives up, but just make sure you understand that you may be liable for accidents caused by radio frequency interference with passing vehicle's electronics.

    Or you could just walk up to the guy and say "Hi neighbor, is there a problem, and if so, lets work it out."

    Naahh, not a chance. Get out the mini trebouchet and carpet bomb the hell out of him with marbles, eggs, and anything else you have handy! Screw the bastard more than he ever thought of screwing you! Worry about the consequences later, after all you don't have to pay for it, or at least not most of it.

  • Re:Observation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @04:10AM (#15851340) Homepage Journal
    my new cubicle was positioned directly under a paging system speaker.

    Yeah I had that problem until about six months ago. The most anoying thing is that occasionally the receptionist who pages people would key the microphone, inhale prior to speaking, get distracted and forget about saying anything.

    There seems to be a low level mute switch in all of us which waits for the other person to speak, after hearing them inhale. Its like those DOS tricks where you initiate a connection and don't complete it.

  • Homemade EMP weapon (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nobodaddy ( 453525 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @05:32AM (#15851482) Homepage Journal
    By way of discussion of a general way to disable electronics; not advocating criminal damage or violation of local spectrum use codes;

    Get a shotgun and cartridges (wider the bore*, the better).

    1) Saw the barrel right down to within 2 inches or so of the top of the cartridge (may be illegal in your jurisdiction: check!).

    EXTREME CAUTION - handling unstable explosives
      - the catridge has, on the inner side of the metal cap, a small amount some unstable explosives (google picarates)
    that are designed to go off when the cap is struck. This charge is enough to blow off a finger or maybe a hand.
    It's purpose is to set off the [stable] main powder charge. The powder charge could take your head or leg off.
    No naked flame, sparks, live wires, hard surfaces, loose tools, children, pets, etc etc etc.

    2) pry open the cartridge and ditch the shot (keep the powder charge + wadding).
    3) form an empty tube of cardboard, roughly pencil thin, and wrap enough very-thin (e.g. from a small transformer) copper wire
    around it so it's wrapped diameter fits snugly back into the part-empty cartridge
    you need to wrap so that the full thickness is reached before moving onto the next layer - i.e. not all-the-way-up-the-tube
    4) get a bar magnet fitting just a bit loosely into your tube
    5) place the coil + magnet into the cartridge. the coil should rest about an inch from the top of the wadding.
    Glue the coil in place.
    6) Inert the bar magnet into the tube and glue the end to the top of the wadding
    7) [needs experimentation or a physics person] maybe fix a load resistor (e.g. pencil lead) across the two free ends of the coil wire

    Now, when the cartridge is fired in the shotgun,
    1) the magnet accelerates through the center of the coil
    2) the coil builds a magnetic field
    3) as the shockwave of the powder charge successively destroys the coil from one end to the other,
    the magnetic field is sucessively compressed into one end of the coil
    4) as the final section of the coil is destroyed, an electromagnetic pulse is emitted
    5) as no metal barrel is there to interfere, the pulse travels in the general direction of the aim of the gun.

    So, when aimed in the general direction of a mosquito alarm, within say a hundred feet (?), it ought to fry it's circuits.
    Perhaps circuits of a bunch of other stuff in the general direction.
    Range is unknown; will be fairly loud (wear ear protectors).

    I haven't tried this myself... Caveat experimentor ..

    * bore (not boar[=pig]) is measure of inner width of barrel. works like this: "12-bore" = width of sphere of 1/12th a pound of lead ; "18-bore" = width of sphere of 1/18th a pound of lead - so smaller bore is bigger. mmkay? 'Guage' probably same thing in USA .. somebody check, quick ..
  • Re:Try this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @06:00AM (#15851531)
    Or at night, plan a raid, whereby you break the device in such a fashion that all the nice little leds stay on...

    Screw that. I'd just head over there at 3 in the morning and smash it with a hammer (and I'm dead serious for those looking to mod this funny). I've had to deal with people of this sort in dealing with my condo association and let me tell you, there are certain segments of the elderly who literally hate everyone. Given that the police will do nothing about this, the only option is to take things into your own hands. These units are fairly expensive and some one on a limited budget (such as your typical elderly neighbor) will likely not have the resources to replace such a device. I would Hop the fence at three in the morning and anything that looked like it might be emitting the sound would be either stolen or smashed.

    For anyone who has moral concerns over smashing the property of an elderly person, said person should take into consideration the fact that this elderly person has installed a device which targets young neighbors regardless of their actions or behavior. Punishing all individuals of a given group regardless of guilt is certainly immoral. Furthermore, said elderly neighbor has plenty of options through the local police department in dealing with disturbances and has no right to take things into their own hands

    Given that the police will do nothing about this, one has no option but to take things into ones own hands.

    Of course if you choose this course of action you should be careful in doing so and recongnize the fact that it is illegal. I'm really just saying what I would personally do and not necessarily what you should do.
  • Re:Behave like a man (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Woy ( 606550 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @08:58AM (#15851850)
    The younguest and most creative within legal limits wins the escalation. Go for it, and be merciless - your neighboor is old enough to know better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05, 2006 @09:28AM (#15851930)
    Except that you will have a bar magnet being fired off like a bullet. Disregarding the fact that this is dangerous, it should be noted that most bar magnets will lose their field if struck hard enough.

    A better approach is dismantling a microwave, and using the magnetron. Transistorized circuits can be completely destroyed by microwaves (if you feel like watching the fireworks, put your cell phone in a microwave and then try using it when it cools down). So you take this magnetron, use the casing of the microwave to "aim" it (or else it will wrap around and hurt you), and turn his house into a lighting chamber.

    Speaking of breaking the law, this is possible one of the most illegal things you can do. Aside from frequency laws, you are probably going to start a fire somewhere, any poor fool who gets in the crossfire will feel like the water in their body is boiling (which can lead to death if their stay in the path of the microwaves long enough), and you might even interfere with RADAR. Perhaps a smarter way to combat the mosquito is to find his break box and just remove the master breaker.

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by berashith ( 222128 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @10:17AM (#15852058)
    Yup, My wife is a teacher and had one of these go off in her classroom. When she asked who the phone belonged to, she got a response of " you can hear that ?" . Pretty funny I thought. This led us to play with the tone. On her computer, with crap generic ten year old standard dell speakers, we could both hear the annoying tone. My computer has a much nicer sound card and speaker set up, and while I could not detect a difference in the tone, she was not able to tell if I was playing the tone or not.

    Speaker quality is a must to recreate that sound.
  • by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @11:12AM (#15852247) Homepage
    No no, you don't want to do anything he can press charges about, and you shouldn't do anything that isn't a direct step in solving the problem.

    Find the noise device, find its speaker, and stick a hat pin in through the speaker grille to pierce the speaker. Then remove the hat pin and walk away. The hole will cause the speaker to tear itself and will cease making any meaningful volume of noise, and the old coot won't be able to hear the difference. More importantly, he can't really do anything with the police about it because to explain how it's broken he'd have to explain what it's supposed to do in the first place, and then he'd be admitting that your complaints about him were true. He can hardly complain "hey, they broke my illegal noise making machine!"
  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @01:25PM (#15852674) Journal
    according to the FAQs []
    "The effective range is between 15 and 20 metres. " = That's 65 feet

    That's a pretty long distance in the majority of US neighborhoods.

    From reading the website and the $937 price (UK£ 495) it's pretty obvious it's not designed for individuals looking to annoy your neighbors. It does effect your neighbors rather than just their children since the page says "the majority of people over the age of 25, have lost the ability to hear at this frequency range" so if you have any neighbors under 25 you're bugging the crap out of them.

    I think I'd contact the website and explain to them that you're a early 20s home owner and your elderly neighbor is trying to run you out of your house. I'd also print out the webpage and show it to the police, maybe you just need to have a younger police officer come out to the house?

    While searching information on the Mosquito I found this interesting: teenagers are actually using it as a ringtone in schools because teachers can't hear it [].
  • by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @03:38PM (#15853118)
    You don't have to do anything illegal to get your point across.

    Our neighbors kids used to throw balls at our fence causing our dog to bark. The barking dog annoyed the neighbor, so they reported the dog to animal control and we were threatened with a $500 fine. They never said anything to us, they just made the report, and there was nothing that we could legally do about it.

    We did, however, end up playing a Christian Rock CD on repeat from a stereo on the deck at the loudest legal level during all legal hours (I believe 7am to 11pm, I had it on a timer) every day. They tried to call the police about this multiple times, but because I knew all the legalities involved, there wasn't anything they could do about it. I believe they were forced to stop calling about it because they were threatened with filing a false report.

    Eventually (less than two weeks), they wrote me a letter apologizing for filing the report and said they wouldn't complain again about the dog barking if I stopped playing the music. The point is, sometimes the only way to compromise with an asshole is to be a bigger asshole.
  • Re:Try this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) * on Saturday August 05, 2006 @05:40PM (#15853435)
    I wonder if the fact that there was MP3 compression applied effected the sound. I'd rather hear an uncompressed version to be sure that I wasn't just perceiving some mpeg artefact.

    No chance of it being an artifact. It's a single-frequency tone, so the MP3 version is loss-less. MP3 throws out the quieter frequency bands to get a file down to the desired bandwidth or "size." This sound has no quieter frequencies, just the one, so nothing is thrown out, hence no artifacts.
  • by pizpot ( 622748 ) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @09:16PM (#15853936)
    and I found that EAR PLUGS work great, and keep me from yelling at the kids when I am trying to sleep during the day because I worked last night. Sure I tried to win the battle by asking them to shut up but in the end, only ear plugs worked.
  • Re:Agism (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noamsml ( 868075 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (lmsmaon)> on Saturday August 05, 2006 @10:12PM (#15854046) Homepage
    Similarly, since you don't know any young people, it's obviously OK to blast them with borderline-ultrasonic sound *rolls eyes*.
  • by browman1 ( 993559 ) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:47PM (#15855770)
    Sounds of this frequency are very easy to block as they're extremely directional.

    If he wants to keep people off his lawn, just stick a cowel over it, so that it directs the sound down. If he has grass on his lawn, that should damp it down enough so that you have to physically be on his lawn to hear it.
  • by Stringfellow ( 849684 ) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:09PM (#15857008)
  • by zorro6 ( 836387 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:08PM (#15861091)
    This isn't an "anti-mosquito" device. The device in question is used to disperse loiterers and in general make an area uncomfortable for human beings. It is called a mosquito because it makes a high pitched noise, like a mosquito, that is very annoying and drives people away. It is used outside of 7-11s and the like to keep the riff-raff from hanging around. It has no other purpose except to annoy people. That may make a difference to the answer here but a lot of folks didn't actually read the relevant info (nothing new for /.).

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.