Birds Can be a Common Pest - How to Repel them

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | May 19, 2010

Why Are Birds a Big Deal?

At the very minimum, birds can annoy guests, especially if they appear in large numbers. Have you ever sat on a patio that was overrun by pigeons, for example, or perhaps a beachfront deck crowded with sea gulls - and their droppings? If too many birds begin roosting or nesting on your property, guests will begin to look elsewhere.

More importantly, birds cause expensive property damage. Pigeons, the most common pest bird in urban areas, are responsible for millions of dollars each year in property damages. The uric acid in bird droppings is highly corrosive to building exteriors, and debris from roosting flocks often clogs gutters and drains, causing extensive damage to roofs and other structures. Bird droppings and debris can also damage air-conditioning units and other rooftop machinery.

Finally, birds can pose a health risk to hotel guests and staff. Their droppings contain parasites and fungi that have been linked to more than 60 human diseases. Dried bird droppings are particularly hazardous because they can become airborne and cause serious respiratory diseases like histoplasmosis. In 2001, for example, a CDC investigation into 220 cases of histoplasmosis traced the origin of the outbreak back to an Acapulco hotel where the victims had spent their spring breaks, and where construction had likely stirred up bird droppings. Health risks are greatest in hotels where droppings or nesting materials have accumulated around air vents or where birds can access food-service areas.

Birds Behaving Badly

If birds begin roosting or nesting on and around your hotel, they probably will be difficult to remove. To understand why, you have to understand a bit of bird behavior. Pigeons, sparrows and starlings are the most common pests birds in the United States, and they share several traits that make them common to commercial facilities like hotels and difficult to get rid of once they settle in.

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