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The Health Risks and Exclusion of Pigeons

June 21, 2021

Some of the most serious health risks of pigeons are disease organisms that grow in accumulations of droppings, feathers and debris. Not only are pigeon droppings an unsightly mess that can be difficult to remove.  

Concerns

The biggest problem pigeons cause is the amount of feces (droppings) they produce. The build-up of pigeon feces on buildings and other structures is visually unappealing and made worse by the fact that pigeon droppings are acidic and erode metal and stonework.

More importantly, pigeon droppings may pose a health hazard to home owners and the general public. Pigeons have been associated with a variety of diseases, including histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis.

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus that grows in pigeon droppings. The fungus can also be found in bat droppings or in the soil, and is carried by the wind. When removing droppings, people may breathe in some of the fungus. When exposure is high, the fungus can cause infection.

Symptoms of histoplasmosis begin to appear about 10 days after initial infection and can include fatigue, fever, and chest pains. Most infections have no symptoms or appear as a mild respiratory illness. People with weakened immune systems are generally more at risk of developing histoplasmosis. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Cryptococcosis is another fungal disease related to pigeon droppings and grows in soils throughout the world. It is very unlikely that healthy people will become infected even at high levels of exposure. A major risk factor for infection is a compromised immune system.

How can I get rid of pigeons?

Physical clean up control

Controlling pigeons permanently is hard because these birds have adapted to stress, and there are many sources of food available in urban areas. The best way to control them is to change their environment:

  • Never leave food out where pigeons can get it.
  • Keep garbage containers closed. Dispose of garbage on a regular basis.
  • Screen off water sources (like rooftop air conditioners) that pigeons might drink from.
  • Remove roosting niches and seal any crevices, large openings, and entrances in high areas to discourage pigeons.
  • On flat roofs or ledges, use bristling wires, also known as porcupine wires, or sticky pastes that will discourage pigeons from landing and gathering.

Essential Pest Control Specializes is pigeon exclusion, especially under and around solar panels. The acid in the pigeon feces can destroy the surface and connecting brackets of solar panels. So it is important to keep panels free of pigeons and the mess they create. If you need help with pigeon exclusion or would like a free inspection, give us a call today. 520-886-3029

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