J.T. Eaton & Co.: Bird Control Tips

1 Aug, 2011

By: James Rodriguez, J.T. Eaton & Co., Inc.

*Published in PMP Buzz Online eNewsletter*

 Bird repellents have been a longtime staple in the pest control industry. They’ve contributed to many success stories — and just as many failures due to misapplications.

The goals of bird work are to keep the birds out of a particular location and prevent their unwanted droppings. This is of great importance not only for aesthetic reasons, but also health reasons associated with breathing the spores that come from the droppings.

Preplanning and calculating the materials needed to complete the job at the right price and with the right man-hours are key factors to any good job. So how do gel-type bird repellents come into these calculations?

You might think gels are appropriate when a customer doesn’t have enough funds to do a job that should require netting, spikes, shock tracks, or bird slopes. Don’t fall into this trap!

Misapplied or haphazard applications may cost you more in litigation (or a new paint job for a property), so sometimes it’s best to walk away until an agreement can be reached.

A likelier use for bird gels would be in hard-to-reach places, narrow ledges, gutter edges, curved surfaces, chimney, and nooks of the building or store signs. Another use is as a temporary solution over entryways and carports ledges, balcony rails or on monuments.

Because most bird work is done at heights over 6 ft., consider all the safety factors involved. When bidding a job, will you need scaffolding, rolling scaffolds or a cherry pickers/bucket lifts — or simply need to rent a longer ladder? Not having the right equipment when the time comes to do the job will cost you time, money, and possibly the whole job!

Whether it’s a big or small job, the hazard of doing bird work is very real when it comes to cleaning up droppings, and handling and removing bird nests. The issues of biting insects like mites and fleas, respiratory illness, falls, clothing and enclosed environment contamination caused by dust should always be on your mind. You should be trained to identify the hazards and prevent them from occurring. The cost of injury or respiratory illness to you or employees, or to a bystander or customer, far outweighs the benefits of cutting corners.

Here are some tips for proper use of gels:

  • Apply gels (caulking tube type) in half-in.-wide strips to a clean surface, or try adding some removable tape to the surface before applying gel for easy cleanup once the birds are deterred.
  • Make sure the application locations are not in plain view, where dust will be visible.
  • Porous surfaces like stone and stucco should be sealed first because they can absorb gels. Use clear shellac spray, white glue or silicone solutions to seal surfaces.
  • For larger surfaces, apply about 1 in. from the edge so the gel doesn’t run over in hot weather.
  • On wide surfaces, create two lines of gel 1 in. from the edge, and the next row about 2 in. from the edge. Repeat as needed.
  • Calculate how many cartridges you’ll need: Each cartridge covers about 10 lineal ft.
  • Mineral spirits can be used to clean equipment immediately after an application has been completed. Use caution cleaning painted surfaces (or avoid applying gel to them entirely). Note: Mineral sprits may discolor or remove paint.