Preventing pigeon problems at your home or business
Pigeons are a common sight here in the Valley, roosting on the roofs of homes and businesses throughout Phoenix. Most people don’t think twice about seeing a pigeon under the eaves of a roof, but they arguably should: pigeons are a major source of property damage and a potential disease vector.
In this article and the accompanying infographic, we’ll review the damage pigeons can cause, as well as the best ways for homes and businesses to deal with a pigeon infestation. If you need pigeon control services here in the Phoenix metro area, be sure to call our team at KY-KO Pest Prevention for a free inspection. We specialize in effective pigeon deterrence and removal.
Are pigeons really that big of a problem?
At one point or another, most people have dealt with the annoyance of pigeon droppings on the hood of their freshly washed car. However, the threat pigeons pose goes far beyond simple vehicle defacement. Feral pigeons are a major nuisance, a disease vector, and a potential source of property damage—all rolled into one pest. Drawn to large cities and quiet suburbs alike by the presence of humans and easy meals, pigeons nest and roost on top of homes and businesses.
As pigeons gather, their droppings begin to accumulate. Like all birds, pigeon droppings are highly acidic—if not cleaned immediately, these droppings can begin to eat through roofing material, damage vehicle paint, or destroy other property. Many historic buildings and statues carry the scars of pigeon droppings, but the effects of their uric acid content can also be seen in newer construction, as well. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in studying the impact pigeons have on agribusiness, even found that pigeon feces could reduce the lifespan of some roofs by half. In the event that pigeons get inside of an attic space, the damage that their droppings do can be even further magnified.
Pigeons can spread harmful diseases through their droppings and nests. These birds are carriers for transmissible diseases such as salmonellosis, listeriosis, meningitis, and more. In most cases, these diseases are spread when people go to clean up droppings off of a car, sidewalk, or table without wearing proper hand and eyewear protection. As a serious vector for disease, pigeons are especially undesirable for restaurants and food service businesses with patios.
Like most birds, pigeons use loose materials—leaves, branches, and trash—to assemble nests. This can lead to an assortment of problems. One of the most popular places for a pigeon to construct a nest is inside of a roof gutter. This can block the movement of rainwater off of the roof of your home or business, leading to water accumulating on the roof and damaging the tile, shingle, or the underlayment. Beyond the potential for roof damage and leaks, the presence of a nest ensures that the pigeons are there to stay, further exacerbating the droppings issue.
What is the best way to deal with pigeons?
At the city level
At the city and municipality level, people are beginning to take action against pigeons. One natural place to start is the feeding of feral pigeons. While seen by some as a romantic part of bustling city life, throwing bread crumbs at this pest only encourages the growth and permanency of urban pigeon populations. Backed by studies demonstrating the diseases pigeons spread and the property damage they can do, many city governments have begun imposing substantial fines as a penalty for feeding wild pigeons.
At the home or business level
Overall, deterrence is the best method of pigeon prevention and removal. By denying this pest access to food, shelter, and a sense of safety, both homeowners and property managers can encourage flocks to go elsewhere.
In contrast, here’s what doesn’t work:
- — Trapping pigeons: Pigeons can breed and gather at your home faster than you can trap them. You then have to maintain and clean traps, potentially bringing you into contact with droppings and diseases.
- — Shooting pigeons: For the same reasons, this is a less-than-ideal solution that does nothing to permanently impact pigeon populations. It also is a potential safety hazard and requires you to clean up a carcass.
- — Poisoning pigeons: Any poisoned food left out for pigeons can also be eaten by other birds, including native songbird species. As they die, cats and dogs can consume them, passing the poison along to neighborhood pets.
If you have a pigeon infestation at your home or business, call our team here at KY-KO Pest Prevention. We specialize in pigeon control services here in the Valley, and we offer free pigeon inspections.