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The PestWeb Podcast episode 9: How to get started in bird control
Even as opportunities to succeed in bird control grow, many PMPs are hesitant to explore what this booming market could mean for their business. In this episode, Aron McKay explains why now’s the time to get into bird management — and how to get started.
Aron brings deep bird control knowledge as the marketing manager at Bird B Gone. Listen as he breaks down common bird installation mistakes, the most difficult birds to manage, and the surprising impact solar panels are having on bird management jobs.
While many people don’t consider birds to be pests, birds and their debris can carry up to 60 communicable diseases including salmonella, streptococcus, and E.coli. PMPs already protect public safety, and bird control serves as a natural extension of their services.
With more people working from home, customers are becoming more aware of issues on their properties. Bird control is also in high demand in newer settings. For example, businesses and venues with outdoor seating and dining now need additional help protecting their customers from pests.
Pigeons, sparrows, and starlings are common issues. Southern customers often deal with grackles. We also see a lot of crows, seagulls, and woodpeckers.
A quick primer on birds: North American birds are classified as either protected or non-protected species. Pigeons, starlings, and English house sparrows are non-protected, meaning they can be engaged in remediation at any time.
The most aggressive species are typically birds trying to protect an existing nesting scenario. In those cases, nesting birds are given federal protection, which makes them more sensitive to treat.
As far as actual behavior, nesting seagulls are big and will dive-bomb you to get you out of their space.
It depends on the species and situation. Birds typically stay high up on ledges that maximize their view and ability to grab unattended food.
Spikes can be effective on those ledges. However, if the restauranteur is concerned about aesthetics, you could install the Bird Jolt Flat Track — an electrified track — or bird wire. However, the deterrent should always match the bird species. For example, spikes are designed for pigeon-sized birds or larger, and won’t be effective on sparrows.
One of the newer markets to grow in the past three or four years has been the solar industry. In many states, new construction is mandated to have solar features integrated into the building plans.
Birds often find shelter under those residential solar panels. As homeowners spend more time at home, there’s a growing demand for professionals to come and install solar panel mesh to keep pests out.
Bird control and its devices are not overly technical. The most complex category of bird control devices is netting, which we recommend because it is a permanent solution.
If the customer is concerned about the aesthetics of their structure, PMPs can use Avian Block — a product that impacts birds’ trigeminal nerve when they inhale or ingest it. The product is small and comes in a pouch you can simply hang or set on the structure.
We have a lot of products that are easy to install, including bird spikes and adhesives. They don’t require a lot of knowhow to get them up and working. It is true that every bird is different, but with our help, PMPs usually get comfortable managing birds after the first two or three cases.
It’s usually poor surface preparation. Bird droppings include pheromones, so you want to do a good job disinfecting and cleaning the area — otherwise the product might just fall off the structure. Be sure to use a high-quality adhesive — not a cheaper alternative like Liquid Nails.
Otherwise, we often see the wrong product for the wrong situation. Bird spikes are not a panacea. Smaller birds like sparrows might actually use the spikes as a base to build a nest on.
In nesting situations, the birds want to stay near the nesting area. If those birds need to be gone — for instance, if the birds are near an air intake or air conditioner unit, which can get the people inside the structure sick — trapping will get you the most bang for your buck.
As mentioned earlier, birds and their debris carry a number of diseases. Proper PPE and sanitization is key. Also, since a lot of bird work happens at elevation, it’s important to choose the right access method. Get OSHA certified if you can, and get technicians who are comfortable in those scenarios.
In our analysis, one in five of your existing customers has an untreated pest bird issue. The average bird job you’re going to sell will generally amount to around $5,000. If a technician can close just one or two bird control jobs a month, you’re talking about a significant revenue bump for that location annually.
It’s worth the investment, and you’re not alone stepping into that space. So when you’re on your existing routes, just look for bird activity. If there are situations where birds are just hanging out or perching, you can treat those relatively easily. You can help your customer without a ton of work on your end.
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