by Alex A. Kecskes
If you’re like most homeowners, you spent some time this summer painting your home. You may also have painted your patio covers, gazebos, and fencing. To protect your roof, probably cleared out your rain gutters, getting rid of some bird nests and bird debris. And you may even have cleaned off walkways, pool and spa areas that were covered with bird droppings. As an informed homeowner, you know that bird droppings can carry any of 60 known diseases. So the last thing you want is bird droppings on or near your pool, spa, patio tables and chairs, or BBQ.
The good news is your home and its surroundings are now sparkling clean and fresh; the bad news, the pest birds that created all those droppings will probably be back--unless you take steps to bird proof your home.
One of the pest ways to bird proof is to install some Bird Spikes along the rooflines of your home, on the tops of your patio covers and gazebos, and any other elevated areas of your property. Properly installed, these bird deterrents can keep a wide variety of pest birds--especially large birds like pigeons and crows--from perching and pooping all over your home and property.
The bird spikes that last the longest are constructed of flexible, marine-grade stainless steel and feature a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base. Some bird spikes come with a non-reflective metal finish, which means they won’t stand out on your roofline or patio cover. Steel bird spikes come in 3-, 5- and 8-inch widths to cover areas up to 8 inches wide. For large birds like crows and gulls, you’ll need an 8-inch wide spike.
You can also get plastic bird spikes. These are less expensive than stainless steel spikes and will last many years. They come in a variety of colors to match your home’s color scheme. Available colors include white, tan, gray, black, brown, brick red and crystal clear. These spikes come in 3-, 5- and 7-inch widths to protect areas up to 7 inches wide. For mid-sized pest birds--usually from 9.5 to 11 inches long--you’ll need a 3-inch wide spike. One advantage of plastic spikes is that they can be installed near your dish TV antenna without worries about RF interference.
To keep your rain gutters clear of pest birds and nests, you can install some Gutter Bird Spikes. The best gutter spikes feature adjustable clamps at the base, so you can easily mount them to the lip of your gutter. If your home is out in the country or near the sea or a lake, you may be tired of dealing with really large pest birds like cormorants, turkey vultures or raptors. This is where you’ll want to invest in the Mega Spike, which features long, 7-inch spikes.
Regardless of which you choose, bird spikes typically come in two-foot sections. Better bird spikes will feature pre-drilled holes and glue troughs for fast, easy installation. The best bird spikes are blunted at the tips and won’t harm birds or pets. They have been approved by a number of humane groups worldwide, including the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service).
Before installing plastic bird spikes, make sure the surface is clean and dry. Be sure to remove any loose rust, peeling paint, bird droppings, feathers and nesting materials. Use commercial disinfecting cleaning agents to prevent exposure to any of the 60 known airborne diseases carried by birds. If the area is heavily contaminated with bird droppings, be sure to use proper eye and respiratory protection.