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Pest control options for Swallows

All animals native to Australia including migratory birds are protected by both State and Commonwealth laws.

Generally all non lethal methods need to be considered and attempted first.

It is an offense to injure or move on any native animal without the required authorisation and permits.

Swallow & humans

Swallow faeces can cover cars, rooves, fences of wherever roosting positions are.

Swallows can become a real nuisance in urban areas in large populations.

Swallow damage prevention and control

Physical barriers are the most effective particularly if they are installed prior to swallows becoming familiar with the site.

If you can close the doors of a building an hour before sunset you will prevent them from roosting. Doors can be opened an hour after the sun goes down if needed.

Swallows are persistent and you may need to block up every entry point, even small ones.

Risk of disease from Swallows

Parasites will almost always be present in the swallow nests that will bite humans but people are not their preferred host.

Pest control options for swallows

  • Plastic netting or poultry wire (mesh size 2cm) can also be installed below rafters and eaves to provide a physical barrier to roosting and nesting. Thin, flexible netting can trap and entangle swallows and therefore must not be used.
  • Building eaves that form an obtuse angle with the wall or have a concave surface to make it unsuitable for nesting. Fibreglass or Perspex may be installed between the eave and wall to create a concave surface.
  • Limiting the width of the overhang to 20cm or less.
  • Discouraging nesting by building with smooth surfaces like metal rather than concrete, wood or plasterboard.
  • Install metal or plastic spikes along ledges and window sills. This method is not always successful because swallows can learn to land and build a nest on the spikes.
  • Turn off lights at night so that insects are not attracted to the sight.
  • Remove sources of freshwater.
  • Install fans to create air currents in areas where nests would likely be built.
  • Where it is impractical to install a physical barrier, is to install a platform to catch droppings and therefore prevent their faeces from fouling.

Swallow scaring techniques

  • In our experience this rarely works as swallows are very tolerant of human activity.

Swallow population control

  • Lethal methods are a last resort.
  • Shooting and trapping is extremely difficult and unlikely to be successful.
  • Nest removal, by knocking or washing them down, can be effective but must be started at the first sign of nest building before eggs or young are present in the nest, and all traces of mud must be removed. This method is messy, time consuming and may spread nest parasites, and the swallows may re-build nests, so it is best to conduct this in conjunction with exclusionary and deterrent methods described above.
  • Leaving the nest in place and placing a tennis ball or similar round object in a completed nest is an easy way to prevent egg laying and re-nesting at that site.