Controlling Pest Birds In The Food Processing Industry

Pest birds can be a serious health and safety issue if they are not controlled. In food processing plants they can cause extensive damage, health issues and safety problems to workers. Pest birds such as pigeons, starlings and sparrows are very common in and around commercial facilities. These facilities often provide perfect roosting places, shelter for nesting and a wonderful food source. Pest bird feces is acidic and can be quite corrosive to building material and machinery, it can also carry any of 60 known transmittable diseases. Contamination of bird feces, feathers and debris is a big problem in the food processing industry. Health officials can close plants for days to weeks when contamination is found. 

Once it is determined that there is an issue with pest birds, plant managers must survey the area to see what the pest birds are doing. In order to implement an effective pest bird control program you must know if the birds are roosting, nesting and if they have a good source of food, water and shelter. Once you know what the birds are doing and where they are; an effective bird control system can be installed.
Control Methods

Roofs, ledges, parapet walls:
A physical bird deterrent such as bird spikes or shock systems best deters pest birds roosting on flat surfaces such as ledges and parapet walls. Bird spikes are economical and easy to install. They make it impossible for the birds to land so they move on to the next favorable roosting area. Bird shock systems are a low profile product that gives a slight “jolt” to the pest birds, changing their habits quickly and moving them on to a more comfortable area.

Loading docks & overhangs:
When pest birds are found under loading docks or overhangs, bird netting is the best way to exclude them. Bird netting hung under the dock superstructure will keep pest birds from landing and roosting on I-beams and building nests under eaves.

Inside processing plant:
Once birds are inside the plant it can be very difficult to get them to leave, especially if there is a food source available to them. There is a new product available that will keep pest birds out of processing areas: bird mist units. These units release a fine mist into the air to deter pest birds from large open spaces. The unit distributes methyl anthranilate, a grape extract proven to be effective in repelling pest birds. As the birds fly through the mist, the extract irritates their trigeminal nerve and mucous membranes through entry in the eyes, nose or mouth. Birds do not like the sensation caused by the extract and will take flight from the area being treated. Methyl anthranilate is a grape extract that naturally occurs in concord grapes, and is used for flavoring grape soda and candies. It is a food grade material, and recognized by the FDA as a safe substance. The extract has been widely used by pest control companies for safely and humanely deterring pest birds and geese for decades.
It is important to implement a pest bird control system as soon as birds are noticed hanging around food processing plants. This will protect the plants from damage, contamination and help to improve third-party audit scores.

For more information on pest bird control systems contact Bird-B-Gone Inc. at (800) 392-6915 or online at