Pigeon spikes come in two different materials: steel and plastic. This particular article will focus on steel pigeon spikes but if you are interested to know more about plastic spikes, just read my other post entitled: "An Extensive Review on Anti-Roosting Pigeon Spike Products: Plastic Spikes". You can find this article in the article archive list below.
Steel spikes can be installed in almost all types of surfaces (brick, wood, concrete, canvas, glass and metal). Many commercial establishments prefer to use steel spikes because they are very durable and they usually last long without experiencing serious damages despite varying weather conditions. However, because of the material used, steel spikes are also expensive, making it not affordable to most people who would only use the spikes to protect their homes. In short, the main difference between steel and plastic spikes (apart from the obvious that they are made from different materials) is their price.
These spikes are adhered to the surface using silicone gel, but in some cases, these spikes are also be adhered to surfaces using nails, cable ties and screws. In some applications, the spikes are mounted on ply boards which are then laid on the surfaces where feral pigeons normally perch. The latter method is the most popular one, especially to property owners who do not value aesthetic appearance that much, because it does not require serious alteration of the original appearance of the building's surface unlike other methods which basically make the fixings permanent. Spikes mounted on ply boards can be easily removed and placed somewhere else when the perching in one particular area stops (though that is not a wise idea because pigeons might just come back and perch in that area again).
One thing that's impressive about steel spikes is their flexibility when it comes to how they can be used. Originally, these spikes are designed for vertical application, but after a couple of trials, the spikes have been proven to be effective for horizontal applications too (even upside down!). Feral pigeons have cunning ways to perch and roost in buildings, using all sorts of unimaginable positions. Thus, spikes which can be installed in many different ways are really very useful.
Benefits of Steel Spikes
Various pigeon control agencies and organizations like the "Pigeon Control Advisory Service" (PiCAS) and the "Royal Society for the Protection of Birds" (RSPB) even encourage the owners of commercial buildings and other areas to use steel spikes to control the pigeons that roost and perch in their properties. This method of pigeon control is very effective and it does not require too many intricacies too.
Although spikes appear to be the more harmful one, pigeon nettings actually accounts for most of the deaths of feral pigeons in the city. Of all the birds that live in the urban setting, pigeons are thought of as the most intelligent. Thus, the presence of the spikes is enough for the pigeons to understand that the surface is no longer safe for them. However, pigeon nettings do not look harmful at all. What happens then is that pigeons rush into these nets "assuming" that they are safe and then end up trapping themselves in between the net's meshes. These birds will not be able to free themselves and without an external help, they can die in these nets because of hunger.
Steel Spike Installation
Before the purchase is made, steel spike dealers normally inspect the surfaces of the property where the spikes are supposed to be installed. This is done so that the owner will know how many spikes are needed to completely cover the entire area. The spikes also come in different heights and widths; the selection of which spikes which best suit the area depends on the inspection. In most cases, the inspection and the spikes are charged separately. In such arrangements, the owner of the property will have to rent vertical lifts which are needed in the inspection. The rent is usually very affordable. Some dealers offer free inspection services, although it can be expected that they sell their spikes at a higher price.
It is also wise for the owner to buy about 10% more spikes from the same dealer just to cover for possible damages and miscalculations. It is not a waste of money because many dealers accept the return of unused spikes. The advantage of having spare spikes in hand is that the speed of the installation will not be affected by whatever problems related to the materials. Without spare spikes, the owner might need to wait for a couple of days more just to get his or her additional orders. During this period, pigeons may have continued to roost and perch in the area where the spikes are not yet installed.