Pigeon Pest Control
Feral Pigeons (Columba livia)
Of all the birds we think of as pests, pigeons cause the most damage and inconvenience, as well as being a threat to our health. It’s not their fault, though. The feral pigeon is derived from the rock dove, a bird that inhabits cliffs and ledges, and urban centres in London and Hertfordshire mimic their natural habitat perfectly. Cities have an abundance of food, which means pigeon populations get too large, leading to overcrowding and disease amongst the birds. What’s more, their droppings cause significant damage to stonework and statues.
Bird proofing, pigeon deterrents and other pest control measures are essential for dealing with the birds effectively and humanely. We offer a range of solutions, including spikes, netting and Bird Free® optical gel.
Feral pigeons are some of the most easily recognisable birds around, partly because they’re so common in our cities. They are about 30 cm long and although their colour varies greatly, they are usually fawn or grey, sometimes with iridescent feathers around the neck. Males and females look largely alike.
Pigeons have been a feature of London for many years (appearing in Mary Poppins, for example), largely due to the availability of food. It was traditional to feed them, and although this is now banned in areas like Trafalgar Square, the pigeons still find discarded food on the floor. St Albans, Watford and many other towns and cities in Herts and the South East have similar problems.
Why Pest Control is Necessary
You only need walk down the street in a city centre to know why pigeons are a nuisance. As well as physically getting in the way and scaring people with bird phobias, pigeons defecate on the upper surfaces of pretty much everything: on ledges, statues, crevices and rooftops. This filth is unsightly, but also damages surfaces and presents a health risk; the droppings carry diseases such as Ornithosis (a viral disease similar to ‘flu) and Salmonella bacteria. It costs around £15 million a year to clean up after the birds, and around £60,000 of this is spent to employ hawks as a deterrent in Trafalgar Square. Ex-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone came under considerable flak for implementing the strategy.
Pigeon nests can also be a problem, harbouring mites and insects which can migrate to other parts of the building. These include obvious pests such as pigeon fleas and mites, but also carpet beetles, case bearing clothes moths, biscuit beetles and flies.
Pigeon Proofing and Deterrents: Spikes, Nets and Bird Free®
There are a wide variety of bird proofing methods available, and at Terminex we use humane solutions wherever possible. Although shooting, poisoning or otherwise killing birds is often used by other companies, there is evidence that this is only effective in the short term. To reduce numbers we would need to make sure less food is available or collect eggs. A far simpler solution is to stop the birds nesting and perching on your building.
If you have a pigeon problem, we will carry out a free survey to assess what the best solution would be. To keep the birds out of courtyards and enclosed spaces, netting can be extremely effective, whereas fine metal pigeon spikes or sprung wires are suitable for ledges and nesting places. We also offer a new product, Bird Free® optical gel, which is a great deterrent because it looks like it’s on fire to the pigeons, simply scaring them away. It’s known as ‘fire gel’ for this very reason.
We also thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas which have been contaminated with bird droppings – something that should only be carried out by a pest control professional to ensure all traces are safely removed.
If you live in London, Herts or any other region of the South East, we can help with your problem pigeons. Get in touch for a free assessment.