Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Keep Swallows From Nesting Under Eaves

by Alex A. Kecskes
Swallows and other birds nesting in your eaves can create a number of problems for your home or commercial business. In preparing for the onslaught of pest birds for spring, you should know that many birds and their nests are protected by law. That means you can't remove the nests until after the birds have migrated or before they have finished building them.

As you can see, it's important to prepare for the arrival of pest birds before they construct their nests. Once they've settled in, you'll have to deal with a number of problems. For example, bird droppings can carry any of 60 known diseases–like salmonellosis. And droppings on walkways and entryways to your home or commercial building can create serious slip-and-fall hazards. (Wet bird poop can be as slippery as a tomato seed.)

When swallows migrate in spring, they quickly begin their search for textured surfaces to attach their mud nests. Keeping nests from being built on the eaves of your house or commercial property can be accomplished by denying the birds access before they begin building. This is often referred to as the "bird exclusion" method.

One popular and highly effective exclusionary bird-proofing device is the Bird Slope. Ideal for use on eaves, ledges, beams and similar areas frequented by birds, they are easily installed and quite effective against all types of birds.

The sloped panels typically come in 4-foot lengths. These are easily screwed, glued or nailed to most any flat surface. The best bird slope features a "snap on" extender, which makes it easy to adapt to ledges as wide as 10 inches. You can also get mounting clips  to install the slopes vertically on the sides of buildings. Some slopes come with “end caps” to keep birds from getting behind the slope. The base of a typical bird slope is 2–3/4-inches wide, which makes the panel easy to glue down with an outdoor polyurethane adhesive. Bird slope panels come in two colors--stone and grey to better blend in with your building's color palette. The best slope panels are made of U.V.-protected PVC and are more resistant to inclement weather.

To discourage swallows from nesting in eaves, you can install Bird Netting. This will deny the birds access to your eaves and they will simply go elsewhere to nest. Be sure to get enough netting to stretch from the outer edge of the roof to the side of the house. And make sure you get the right mesh size for swallows--1/4- to 1/2-inch mesh. Install the netting--using tape, staple-gun or hooks--so it extends from your roof's edge to the wall to completely block access to the eaves.

Keep in mind that the best time to install any bird proofing is now—before pest birds arrive and stake a claim to your eaves.
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