Pest Birds and their Control
When most people think about "pest control," birds aren't the first animals to come to mind. But there are three species of birds that are classified as "pests" — pigeons (shown on the right), sparrows, and starlings — and many more that are considered "nuisance wildlife" when they create problems in human-occupied areas, airports, or other sensitive locations.
Birds can cause serious problems, and sometimes need to be professionally controlled. These risks tend to fall into two categories: health risks, and risks to property and public safety.
Birds and Human Health
Birds can cause serious health risks. Their droppings often contain pathogens that cause serious diseases, such as:
- Histoplasmosis (Histoplasma capsulatum), which can cause illnesses ranging from a mild, flu-like condition, to high fever, blood abnormalities, pneumonia, blindness, and death.
- Cryptococcosis (Cryptococcus neoformans), which in its systemic form can cause sometimes fatal damage to the lungs and nervous system.
- Pigeon ornithosis (Chlamydia psittaci), which can lead to damage to the heart and spleen in humans.
- Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii), which can cause serious birth defects when pregnant women come in contact with the disease.
Birds also harbor many different parasites, some of which can in turn cause a wide variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and various forms of encephalitis.
Physical and Property Risks Associated with Birds
Birds can cause significant damage to property, as well as safety hazards. For example:
- Birds and their droppings can cause serious damage or defacement of buildings and monuments.
- Bird droppings can damage or deface vehicles, exterior furnishings, and walkways.
- Bird feathers can clog the intakes to HVAC equipment and the cooling radiators for outdoor generators and other machinery.
- Birds around airports cause a serious hazard to air transportation and the safety of the flying public.
Pest Bird Control
Bird repellent spikes are a harmless, effective way to prevent birds from roosting.
Long-lasting bird control is accomplished primarily through non-chemical methods, including:
- Habitat modification, such as improved sanitation and the use of covered garbage cans and dumpsters.
- Mechanical repellents, such as plastic or metal bird spikes, that make roosting uncomfortable.
- Optical and sound devices that scare birds away.
- Bird exclusion (or "bird-proofing"), which basically means sealing birds out using bird netting and other materials.
In most cases, no chemical treatment is needed for effective bird control, provided the above steps are carried out properly. In some cases, however, the use of chemical avicides may be used to quickly reduce the bird population in a given area. These products usually don't actually kill the birds, though. They just make them feel ill. The birds associate the illness with the area being treated, and they fly elsewhere.
Bird control requires unique skills and specialized equipment, as well as the necessity of working in high places. It's definitely not a job for amateurs, nor even the average exterminating company. Buckingham Pest Control has the equipment, personnel, and training necessary to tackle any bird control job.