Swallows

Swallows in the Tri-State Area

swallowSwallows are slender, sleek, colorful birds. There are eight species of swallows, but the two that became pest birds in New Jersey are barn swallows and cliff swallows. These birds often build mud nests attached to buildings and other structures, an activity that can turn them into a major nuisance. This is particularly true of the cliff swallow, which nests in large colonies of up to several hundred pairs. It doesn't take long before your home or commercial building feels like a bird sanctuary.

Swallow Damage in New Jersey, New York, and Delaware

Swallow nests may damage, deface and/or stain the surface they are built upon. Even worse, the area below becomes dirty and dangerous because of all the droppings and urine. Feces can extend down walls and cover the ground beneath nest sites. When the infestation is near a walkway, there is the hazard for a slip and fall on the slippery droppings. Swallow bird droppings can contain a wide variety of disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause a wide range of diseases including histoplasmosis, salmonella, and meningitis that can be inhaled as airborne spores if the droppings dry and are then disturbed.

Their mud nests eventually fall to the ground and can cause similar problems. Parasites found in swallow nests, including swallow bugs, fleas, ticks, and mites, may bite humans and pets. In addition, cliff swallow nests are often used by house sparrows, introducing another avian pest and its attendant damage problems and potential health hazards.

How to Know if Swallows are Occupying Your Commercial Building

swallow nest

Noticeable nests. Swallow nests are very distinguishable from other species of birds, as they are made of mud pellets and fibrous materials and often located under the eave or long an external wall of a building.

There are many signs of a swallow infestation for a commercial property, with some of the major and common signs including:

  • Mud nests or dabs of mud located at the top of an exterior wall, soffit or the eaves.
  • Birds roosting on the mud balls at night.
  • Softball-size nests in a cup shape, or closed with only a small opening.
  • Bird droppings down the wall and on the ground below.
  • Rusty-colored, white, or blue birds having square tails or deeply forked tails.
  • Birds flying in a darting pattern similar to bats, quickly and frequently changing direction left, right, up and down.

Because Swallows need mud to build their nests, they are usually near lowlands, marshlands, rivers, ponds, or muddy areas. These are perfect sources of water, mud, and insects.

What Cowleys Pest Services Can do to Resolve Your Swallow Problem?

Swallow control is about keeping unwanted, nuisance swallows from landing, roosting, and nesting on structures using various deterrents. Bird deterrents may be physical, visual, or auditory. In urban and suburban settings, physical barrier deterrents are the most effective and practical long-term solution to control swallows. Each solution must be designed to resolve the particular swallow infestation at hand. Factors that must be assessed include the type of structure and the level of bird activity. In addition to choosing the right mix of deterrents, a proper installation by an experienced bird control specialist is essential.

Cowleys Pest Services will make your home or building an inhospitable area for swallows to land, roost, or nest. The objective is to have the swallows take themselves and their droppings to another, friendlier location. With the right deterrents installed, the nuisance birds get the message loud and clear that your structure is an undesirable habitat once there is no longer enough real estate on your ledges and other areas to conduct their activities.

Habitat and Food

Cliff and barn swallows build nest sites where there is: (1) an open habitat for foraging, (2) a suitable surface for nest attachment, (3) a supply of mud of the proper consistency for nest building, and (4) a body of fresh water nearby for drinking. Homes and other man-made structures have increased the number and distribution of suitable nesting sites, and cliff swallow populations have increased accordingly. Like cliff swallows, barn swallows have benefited from human activities with nest sites built on beams or walls of buildings or other structures.

Swallows eat enormous quantities of insects. So, they help to control bug populations and are beneficial to people and to the environment. However, with the good comes the bad. There is an irritating, biting bug that these birds bring along with them wherever they go: Swallow bugs. These blood-sucking bugs live on the bodies of birds and feed on their hosts' blood. Wherever swallow infestations are found insect control is usually necessary because these bugs will get into the building and multiply rapidly. Swallow bugs are similar to bed bugs, and they will bite like fleas. Cowleys Pest Services' technicians will remove the birds and the parasitic bugs occupying their nests.

Swallow Nests and Bugs

If the pest infestation that inevitably comes with the swallows nesting is not treated immediately, these bugs can spread rapidly by crawling from nest to nest in a new colony or by clinging to the feathers of adults – and may eventually wind up inside the structure. Swallow bugs are able to survive in unoccupied nests for up to 3 years without feeding and await returning swallows in spring. When swallow bug populations become too great, cliff swallows will even prematurely desert their nests en masse, leaving their young to starve.

Egg Laying and Hatching

Cliff swallows usually begin laying eggs before the entrance tunnel is completed. Each day 1 egg is laid until the clutch, usually 3 or 4 eggs, is completed. Barn swallows typically lay 4 or 5 eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs. Incubation begins before the last egg is laid and ranges from 12 to 16 days for cliff swallows and 13 to 17 days for barn swallows. Whitewash on the ground below the nest or on the rim of the nest entrance is a sign of newly hatched nestlings inside the nest. This marking occurs when adults remove fecal sacs from the nest and later when nestlings defecate from the nest.

Permit Requirements and Legal Status

In the United States, all swallows are classified as migratory insectivorous birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. As a result, certain activities affecting swallows are subject to legal restrictions.

If your property is experiencing nuisance birds, such as swallows, contact Cowleys Pest Services today for a Free Estimate! We provide our professional solutions and swallow control services to both residential and commercial properties all throughout our Mid-Atlantic service area, including: New Jersey and more!

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