How to Prevent Swallows From Building Nests on Your Home and Commercial Buildings

Here come the Swallows, it must be spring.  Each year these beautiful birds begin to build their mud nests on our buildings, barns, homes and other areas like bridges.  The eave of your home provides the perfect nest building spot for swallows; providing protection form the elements and predators.  Each year homeowners are plagued with swallow nests and the mess and debris they bring with them.

It is worth noting that in the United States, all swallows are classified as migratory insectivorous birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  Swallows are also protected by state regulations.  Once the birds have begun to build their nests it is too late to get rid of them.  Control methods should be enacted before the swallows return.  This will guard against potential fines for disturbing nests or injuring the birds.

Nesting Sites:

Swallows will usually build their nests in a nice shady spot such as under the eaves of a home, bridge or overpasses, and other areas with right angles to the walls.   The swallows will choose a wall texture that is easy to “stick” their nesting material to such as wood, stucco, masonry and concrete.

Damage:

Swallows like to nest in colonies thus causing a large problem for building and homeowners.  Thousands of dollars of damage is caused each year from their droppings and nesting debris.  Not only is the droppings left behind by swallows unsightly, it can be hazardous; carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans.  The nests will eventually fall to the ground where there is a chance that the bugs, fleas, ticks and mites found in them can spread to domestic animals such as dogs and cats.

How to Deter:

Exclusion is the best method of deterring pest swallows.  You must make it impossible for the birds to build their nests.  There are several methods of exclusion that can be used.

Bird Netting: A plastic netting with a 3/4 ” mesh can be hung from the outer edge of the eave of the home down to the side of the wall creating a 45 degree angle.  This will keep the swallows from getting into the favored sheltered space under the eaves of homes and buildings to build their nests.  Note: Install the netting before the swallows arrive.  It may be left up all year or taken down after the nesting season.
Bird Spikes: Installing plastic or stainless steel birds spikes at the junction where the wall meets the home keep the swallows from getting a foothold on the wall and attaching their nesting material.  Bird spikes are easy to install using adhesive or screws.
Slippery Panel: There are products available that create a smooth surface under the eave of your home so that the swallows are not able to “stick” their nesting material to it.  These products are generally made of a PVC plastic that is attached under the eave with adhesive. Creating a slick surface on the nesting walls will discourage the birds and they will look elsewhere to find a good nesting spot.
Swallow Guard (No Nasty Nest) is anew product on the market that uses a fine clear wire attach to a clear Plexiglas base that is ready to adhere to the eaves of your home or business.  The swallows will not fly through this “distraction” and therefore not build their nest in areas protected by swallow guard.

NOTE: Do not use a sticky gel to deter Swallows.  The gel should only be use for ledges where birds land, not walls.

The best advise to keep swallows off of your home or commercial building is to do something before the swallows arrive.  Put up netting, bird spikes, slippery panels or other means of deterring nest building before the swallows begin to build.  Once the birds arrive and start building their nests, it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.  Some will try to hose down the nests at they are being built to no avail.  The swallows are tenacious birds and will just keep building and building if the spot is ideal for them. You must also be aware of the laws that protect these birds; you do not want to be fined!

Fran Prisco lives and writes in Southern California. She has been in the bird control industry for over 8 years. Her areas of interests span from running and bicycling to volunteer work and golfing.

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