pigeon control

Cleaning Internal Areas Soiled by Pigeon Droppings

In the context of pigeon control, cleaning of droppings simply means the removal of the pigeon excrement called guano. Such droppings accumulate in different areas because of the birds' roosting and perching behaviors. While the droppings can soil both the building and its surrounding area, this article will simply focus on the soiling that happens in the building itself. Throughout this article, the term "internal areas" will be used to refer to any type of building, whether presently occupied by pigeons or not, which shows visible signs of guano soiling.

Pigeons normally occupy the roof void of the building, commercial or residential, because it is usually dry and away from human presence. Quite surprisingly, because of the nature of the location in the building where they inhabit, a number of pigeons can live in the roof void for years without giving the owner of the property a hint that a massive infestation is already happening. Pigeons are able to enter the roof void through slipped-off roof tile or damaged gutters.

Nevertheless, it is not in the residential buildings that pigeons are most fond of roosting in large numbers. These birds often come in large flocks to derelict and industrial buildings. According to some reports, there are extreme cases when the guano left by the roosting pigeons would accumulate to such a great volume that its weight was sufficient to bring down an entire floor within that building. One of the most classic example of such a case happened in Newcastle. Every once in a while, the Tyne Bridge found in this place is accessed to clean out the accumulated guano in it. Records show that the last time it was accessed for that purpose, the amount of guano removed reached 12 tons! Of course, this does not always happen to all the properties where pigeons perch and roost. However, it does show just how much guano can pigeons produce and if these excrements are not cleaned out, apart from aesthetic reasons, problems would definitely arise.

What You Need?

Guano should be dealt with utmost precaution. Although it is not harmful in itself, because of its "friendliness" to harmful bacteria and viruses it can harbour diseases which might compromise your health if you are not careful enough. Thus, proper equipment and clothing must be worn when cleaning out guano. These are:

1. Disposable Overalls

Majority of the guano clean-up operations involve the removal of well-dried excrements. Now, when a deposit of well-dried guano is disturbed, it is very likely that dust-like particles will rise up and mix with the air. Guano-contaminated air may pose considerable health threats to the people who breathe it. Almost immediately, the dust can cause minor discomforts in breathing, irritation of the nose and coughing. Those with a pre-existent medical condition related to their respiratory system will suffer more serious problems. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that guano dust is not deadly or fatal in any way. But, to mitigate whatever health risk that dust can bring, it is important for the cleaner to wear overalls. The risk does not have to be so great before precaution becomes imperative, right? A complete overall should include a paper face mask apart from the suit that the cleaner has to wear. More advanced overalls have full face masks attached to a breathing apparatus.

2. Disposable Gloves

Of course, it will be futile if the cleaner will wear a mask and yet leave his or her hands unprotected. While it is not possible for the bacteria and viruses in the guano to seep into the cleaner's skin, they can enter through wounds and other lacerations. It will be safer if the cleaner will work with his or her hands covered and protected so that when accidents happen, the problem will not be aggravated. Moreover, the cleaner should remember that despite having worn the gloves, it is still very important for him or for her to wash his or her hands thoroughly before using them for some other purposes, most especially for eating and for drinking. It is necessary that water for washing purposes is readily available in the site where the cleaning operation is conducted. The cleaner must use disinfecting soaps in washing.

3. Nitrile Rubber Gloves

These gloves are normally used before the actual cleaning procedure. The gloves are used for protection during the onset inspection when the area is still probed for possible dangers and other risks. It should be remembered that in large-scale clean-up operations, these dangers are normally always present.

The Cleaning Process

The best way to start is to remove all the pigeon nests in the area. The nests are usually located on the floor of the roof void; pigeons rarely build their nests at a height, thus if you are conducting the inspection, be extra careful with your steps as you might step on the pigeon chicks on the nest. Once you find a nest with chicks or eggs in it, you are obliged by the law to contact a wildlife rehabilitator to secure the birds for possible rearing. If the site is large, you can be very certain that more than one nest is lying on the floor. Make sure that you have thoroughly inspected the area before you signal the cleaning team to start.

Once the cleaning operation starts, it should continue until the end without ceasing. It should be remembered that if the cleaning operation is left for the next day, the pigeons might just come back during the night to roost again and everything will be as messy as it was before the cleaning operation started. Right after the site is cleared with all the dependent chicks and eggs, all entry and exit points to the roof void must be sealed off so that re-infestation will not happen.

The most important tool used in large-scale pigeon guano cleaning is the shovel. Essentially, because pigeons tend to roost or perch in large numbers, the amount of guano that they can leave behind will definitely give the cleaners a hard time. The entire process requires a lot of hard work too. Dried-up guano has to be sprayed with water first before they can be removed, then after all the guano is gone, the surface of the roof void has to be scrubbed with soap before it is finally rinsed with hot water. But much of the work is actually during the transport for of the guano. In most cases, the excretions have to be bagged or carried out on a wheelbarrow. This procedure has to be repeatedly performed until all the guano in the roof void is transferred out. This task becomes even more difficult because of the fact that the roof void is located on top of the building. Guano bags can't be transported via the elevator because of their smell, thus, cleaners have to carry these bag by hand down the stairs until they reach the ground floor!
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