As the fourth quarter of the year draws near, many facility and property managers are assessing the performance of their pest management programs - what can and needs to be done to improve the performance.
Bird management emerges as a one major element for consideration – due in part to timing with the pest, and the significant financial investment required to properly do the job.
Late fall and early winter is an important time for bird management in commercial facilities since most species of protected migratory birds head south for warmer climates and abandon their nesting sites allowing exclusion work to be done.
“This is a time of year when companies who have room in their capital budget try to get bird work completed before budgets expire,” said Keith Rowney, Sprague Pest Solutions’ special services manager and certified bird control specialist. “It’s spend it or lose it.”
What’s trending with bird management? Rowney says increased awareness of the health risks associated with unaddressed bird challenges are front and center with commercial clients.
“Clients know birds can significantly impact their HACCP programs and audits, and damage structures,” says Rowney.
Sprague’s resident “Bird Man” says he sees an increased willingness with clients to have a variety of bird management strategies deployed.
“No one response is likely to solve the issue completely and clients are no longer trying ‘one off’ solutions and waiting to see what the results are,” adds Rowney. “With the increased emphasis on birds under FSMA, clients cannot afford to stick with this approach.”
Rowney says more comprehensive bird management programs, ones that ‘stack the effects’ are now what he and his team is focusing on.
How best can commercial clients – especially those involved in food processing and distribution, retail and large-scale manufacturing, ‘stack the effects’ for an effective solution to their bird issues?
Rowney says new deterrents include random pattern laser lighting – an industrial version of holiday lighting you may see around a home – that produces random red, green and white light in stark patterns meant to disturb birds and keep them away.
Another deterrent is a new generation of repellent gels made with botanical oils or hot pepper dust that include an ultraviolet dye that is only visible to the birds.
“Birds see in the ultraviolet spectrum and the UV dye in the gel appears as a pillar of light to them and daunts them from approaching,” says Rowney. “Humans can’t see it but birds sure do.”
Ultraviolet dyes have also been added to sprays that are applied to grassy areas in corporate parks where Canada geese often roam and leave behind unsightly and disease-laden droppings. The spray not only makes eating the grass unpalatable but the die adds the UV light deterrent.
Rowney says the ultraviolet dye and new generation deterrent gels are good short-term solutions and offer clients low-impact, reduced toxicity options for bird management, especially in sensitive accounts like food processing and healthcare facilities.
However, to permanently solve a pesky bird infestation, a more comprehensive approach including netting and other exclusion elements is needed.
“We are constantly looking to apply the latest product technology that delivers the safest and most cost effective bird management program for clients,” says Rowney.