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bird control

The problems caused by birds on commercial properties

Harry Wood

Birds can be a significant pest for businesses, especially those handling food, such as food warehouses, food processing factories and bakeries, where they can become a problem inside buildings.

The common problems and issues which develop due to a bird infestation come in a range of options. They can range from damage to the structure of a property due to their nesting habits to the spread of diseases such as Salmonellosis through their droppings.

As a result, they can cause businesses to take costly measures for cleaning, repairing buildings and equipment, and replacing raw materials and finished products.

Which bird species are pests?

Birds are protected by wildlife laws in most countries and can only be disturbed or killed in certain circumstances or seasons. So it is important to identify a bird you consider to be a pest before taking any action to control it and check the local wildlife laws — your best option is to check with a professional pest controller.

The main bird species that cause problems on buildings are:
– Pigeons
– Starlings
– House sparrows
– Gulls
– House myna or Indian myna

Problems caused by birds

The problems caused by birds include:

1. Fouling

Unsightly droppings can build up in roosting sites, foul paved areas nearby, causing a slip and fall risk for staff in businesses and members of the public in urban areas. Birds also foul vehicles parked nearby and for businesses spoil raw materials and finished goods, causing financial loss.

problem with birds #1 Fouling

2. Physical damage

Larger birds such as pigeons can dislodge roof tiles. Bird droppings corrode stone, metal, paintwork and other building materials, while birds gaining access to roof spaces can damage insulation. The damage can result in high cost of repairs for the building owners.

problem with birds #2 physical damage

3. Spread of diseases

Bird droppings can contain many types of bacteria, viruses and parasites which can contaminate food, surfaces and goods. The pathogens in the bird droppings include Salmonella, E. coli and Histoplasma, which can then infect people handling the goods and eating contaminated food.

Problems with birds #3 spreading diseases

4. Spread of insects and parasites

Ticks, fleas, lice and mites are carried by birds and can infest their nests and spread around the building; various beetles, moths, flies and mites that feed on nest detritus can infest nests, such as carpet beetle, fur beetle, biscuit beetle, clothes moth, dust mite and other stored product insects.

Problem with birds #4 insects and parasites

5. Blocked drainage systems and water damage

Nests block guttering and drain pipes leading to flooding on the roof, which can then become breeding sites for flying and biting insects. The flooding can cause internal leaks, rotten timbers, metal corrosion, damaged plaster and other wall coverings and flooring inside the building.

Problems with birds #5 blocked drainage systems

6. Consumption of stored food

Businesses storing grain and flour can lose a large amount to birds. Birds can gain access to grain silos and stores through doors, ventilation points damaged roofs. Even packaged goods can be damaged by birds by pecking at it to access the food or from droppings fouling the packaging.

problem with birds #6 contaminating food

7. Aggressive behaviour

People walking near nesting areas are attacked by some birds — mainly gulls — when they have young. This can become a problem if birds are allowed to roost and nest on buildings undisturbed and numbers build up.

Problem with birds #7 aggresive

What are the signs of a bird infestation?

It is important to recognise the signs of an infestation as early as possible to keep the costs of control to a minimum. The common signs of a bird infestation are:

  • Birds settling:  on roofs, ledges, cables and wires
  • Droppings: on roofs, ledges, paved areas, vehicles and goods
  • Bird noises: continuous bird cries, especially from young chicks
  • Bird nests: on roofs, ledges, gutters, roof spaces, beams
  • Debris from nests and feathers: debris scattered around your premises, blocked guttering and drainage systems, damp walls and ceilings from water ingress
  • Damaged stock: caused by bird droppings and pecking

If you are concerned about a bird problem in your business, then get in contact with the experts at Rentokil today.

contact a rentokil expert

Harry Wood
Harry Wood

I am a Content Communications Editor at Rentokil Initial, writing content for all our marketing activities on topics as diverse as pest control, pest-borne diseases, food safety, climate change, wellbeing, hygiene and airborne diseases. I've been an editor and writer for over 30 years in academic and business roles. I started life in the Forestry Commission, moved into tropical forestry and environment in Thailand before migrating to the world of healthcare IT and medical technology back in the UK. My role at Rentokil Initial has given me the chance to return to some of my roots when writing about wood-boring insect pests ... or is that boring Wood writing about insect pests?


  1. Birds always a cause problem not only on the roof but also over our ceiling especially when they started nesting under your roof. This will make your roof and ceiling prone to moist and also termites.

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