Knowing the pests behavior and biology is important as it helps determine the most effective control methods, the best time to implement the control and the best location for the control (e.g. – traps or poisoned baits.)
The selection of effective control methods will depend upon:
- population density • mobility of the pest • habitat of the pest • preferred foods of the pest • availability of food • pest’s wariness of man and foreign objects
The best time to implement a control will depend upon:
- availability of food • when population numbers are lowest (just be-fore young are born).
Controls should be set in place before this time when the pests are actively moving about in search of food whether the pest hibernates. The best locations to trap, or control a pest can depend upon finding: the den, the burrow or nest and exits, the regularly travelled routes, and the feeding areas.
Vertebrate Pest Control
Vertebrate pests may be controlled by:
- removing the pests from a feeding or breeding location • destroying their habitat • encouraging natural predators • frightening away or repelling the pests • trapping the pests • preventing reproduction of the pests with chemical sterilants • poisoning the pests with pesticides (including avicides and rodenticides) The control measure chosen depends on: • the legal status of the control measures • the cost of these controls • their effectiveness
Birds can become pests when they create health hazards, roost in large numbers on or in buildings or structures, contaminate food or create a nuisance. Few species of birds can be classified as pests – whether birds are pests depends on time, location and activity.
Large populations of roosting birds may present risks of disease to people nearby or to the pest control applicator. The most serious health risks are from disease organisms growing in accumulations of bird droppings, feathers and debris in a roosting area. If conditions are favorable, especially if the roost has been active for some time, disease organisms can flourish in these rich nutrients. Food may be contaminated by birds but this risk is limited to food processing areas normally. When parasite-infected birds leave their roosts or nests or invade buildings, the parasites can bite or irritate people.
Some Common Diseases which birds could pass on to humans are summarized below: Histoplasmosis
This systemic fungal disease (mold) is transmitted to humans by airborne spores from soil contaminated by pigeon and starling droppings (droppings from other birds and bats can also spread this disease). Infection occurs through the inhalation of the spores. The spores can be carried by the wind, particularly after a roost has been disturbed. Most infections are mild and produce either no symptoms or a minor flu-like illness. However, the disease can lead to more serious illnesses and even death. There have been reported cases of a potentially blinding eye condition which results from infection by this spore.
Pigeon droppings may contain a disease fungus which, if inhaled, can lead to two forms of disease. One form of the disease affects the skin of humans and creates acne-like skin eruptions or ulcers with nodules just under the skin. An-other form of the disease begins with a lung infection and spreads to other parts of the body, particularly the central nervous system. This disease can be fatal.
Pigeons, starlings and sparrows may be hosts for ectoparasites. When these birds invade buildings, so do the ectoparasites. Some of these parasites can bite and irritate inhabitants of the buildings, including humans. Droppings, feathers, food and dead birds in roosting or loafing sites can also lead to an increase in flies, carpet beetles and other insects which may also invade the buildings.
Defacement and Damage to Structures and Equipment
Bird droppings under window sills, “whitewashing” down a building face, or accumulating on sidewalks and steps, are the most obvious problem associated with large roosts. Clean-up can be labor-intensive and expensive, particularly on high-rise buildings. Bird droppings are corrosive and will damage automobile finishes, many types of metal trim, electrical equipment, and machinery. Downspouts and vents on buildings also become blocked by droppings, nest materials, and feathers. This accumulation of debris can attract insect pests such as carpet beetles and other dermestids, spider beetles, and mealworms.