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Pigeons roost on building ledges, causing defacement and health risks from their droppings. Starlings and sparrows often nest inside roof voids, causing thousands of minute bird mites to enter the premises. The bites of bird mites are 10 times worse than fleas and cause severe skin irritation and blotching.
Various long term bird control deterrent systems or products can be used where pigeons are a problem.
This may include installation of plastic or stainless steel spikes on ledges or other roosting areas; post and spring wire barriers and bird netting to exclude pigeons from particular areas.
In some areas, shooting of pigeons may be allowed as approved by National Parks & Wildlife Service and the local police authorities. Live trapping and humane disposal of the pigeons is also permitted in certain circumstances.
Contact your pest control professional for an on site inspection, service quotation and advice as to the recommended service or product best suited to the situation.
Starlings and Sparrows nesting in roof voids can cause a bird mite (sometimes called "bird lice") infestation to become a serious problem inside the home. As noted above, the bites of bird mites are 10 times worse than fleas and cause severe skin irritation and blotching, particularly to children or people with sensitive skin.
Bird mite pest control involves the use of an insecticidal spray treatment of the bird mite infestation in the immediate bird nesting areas using a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide prior to removal of the bird nesting materials. Affected roof void areas are treated with ornikill, a product which kills all harmful bacteria in bird guano. In addition, any bird mite infested areas in the living quarters of the home is treated with natural pyrethrins, as applied through a fogging machine that disperses the natural pyrethrin insecticide to penetrate into nooks and crannies where the bird mite may congregate.
ADVICE: It is essential to block off entry points to ensure birds cannot rebuild a nest in the roof void. We also recommend the galvanised vermin wire or similar products for bird proofing of domestic and commercial buildings.
Diseases caused by birds
Disease potential which exists when birds such as pigeons are permitted to roost in areas frequented by humans. For example, pigeons roosting and nesting on roofs, around air conditioning systems, in steeples etc.
Apart from the disease hazard, wet bird droppings are slippery and can lead to people slipping and falling onto solid surfaces such as sidewalks. Bird roosts are frequently infested with flies as well as several species of parasites such as bird mites, ticks etc., which bite humans, & can readily cause infection. Bird roosts are also smelly, the presence of accumulated bird droppings can block gutters and drains and the acidity in bird droppings causes permanent damage to metal surfaces, painted surfaces etc. Quite often the cost of repair and replacement of damaged surfaces exceeds the cost of exclusion.
The white material you see in droppings is uric acid which is a very powerful acid. It will eat through steel, the final finish on automotive paint etc. and cause permanent damage. In addition, there are yeasts which live in bird faeces and as these yeasts live they also excrete acids. So wherever you have bird faeces you have the on-going generation of powerful acids and their corrosive effects.
There are over 40 known virus and 60 diseases directly associated with birds and their droppings. These diseases vary in seriousness from minor stomach ailments to fatal diseases such as histoplasmosis, which is the one disease which is now most common.
Histoplasmosis is a fungus which is found in the soil, particularly soil with high nitrogen content and it is enriched by the droppings of birds and bats. It thrives in warm temperatures and in moist conditions especially in areas such as bird roosts, caves infested with bats, school yards, chicken coops, areas where there is rotten or decaying wood etc. It is contracted when the soil from an infected area is disturbed and tiny spores are inhaled. These spores enter the lungs and can then be transported around the body.
Birds can carry histoplasmosis fungus on their legs, feet, wings etc. but they are not infected with histoplasmosis, most likely because of their high body temperature. However bats do carry and do excrete histoplasmosis. Apart from humans, animals such as dogs, cats, rats, skunks, foxes etc. also are susceptible to this disease.
Dust and dirt containing histoplasmosis spores can be carried over a long distance and hence can affect a number of workers on an infected site.
Several cases of Cryptococcocal meningitis have been reported where workers exposed to bird droppings have developed a chronic inflammation of the brain tissue. A window cleaner in California lost 50% of his lung capacity because he came into regular contact with bird droppings on window ledges.
Water sprays and other dust suppression methods should be used when handling dirt/droppings in infected areas.
The only known product to kill these spores is a 3% solution of formaldehyde however workers in potentially infected areas should take necessary precautions. Wear a respirator with a hepa filter and certainly wet droppings down before clean up and removal.