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Pigeon Dropping and Bird Feces Cleanup Explained

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Pigeon Dropping and Bird Feces Cleanup Explained

Introduction

Pigeon droppings and bird feces can present health hazards if left to accumulate. As a property owner or manager, it is important to practice safe and effective bird feces cleanup. In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide to handling pigeon droppings and bird feces.

Potential Health Risks of Pigeon Droppings

Pigeon droppings and bird feces can contain bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Some potential health risks include:

  • Histoplasmosis – A lung infection caused by a fungus found in bird and bat droppings. It can cause flu-like symptoms and can be dangerous for people with compromised immune systems.

  • Cryptococcosis – A fungal disease that infects the lungs and central nervous system. It is transmitted through inhalation of the cryptococcus fungus in droppings.

  • Psittacosis – Also known as parrot fever, this bacterial disease causes fever, chills, headache, and respiratory issues. Humans can catch it by inhaling dust from bird droppings.

  • Salmonella – Known to cause food poisoning, some strains of salmonella bacteria can be passed from bird to human through feces.

  • E. coli – While most strains are harmless, some strains of the E. coli bacterium from feces can cause intestinal illness.

The potential health risks are highest when droppings accumulate over time in large quantities. It is important to promptly clean up bird feces before these pathogens can become airborne.

When Professional Cleanup is Recommended

In some cases, it is best to hire professional pigeon droppings cleanup services:

  • If there is a large volume of droppings accumulated over a long period of time. Professionals have specialized equipment to safely remove large quantities.

  • If droppings have soaked deep into porous surfaces like stone, wood, or drywall. The porous material may need to be removed and replaced.

  • If droppings have gotten into hard to reach places like air vents, crawl spaces, or attics. Professionals can access the droppings and disinfect these spaces.

  • If you plan to sell or rent the property soon. A professional cleaning service can ensure all droppings residue is removed before new occupants move in.

  • If the area will be used by high risk individuals including infants, elderly, pregnant women, or immunocompromised people. Their health could be endangered if even small amounts of droppings are left behind.

Safety Precautions for Self-Cleanup

If you plan to clean up a small amount of droppings yourself, proper safety gear and precautions are essential.

Recommended Personal Protective Equipment

  • N95 respirator mask – Protects against inhalation of harmful particles. Should form a tight seal to the face.

  • Goggles – Prevent bird feces and cleaning chemicals from contacting eyes.

  • Disposable gloves – Nitrile gloves are best. Latex gloves can degrade when exposed to droppings. Throw away gloves after use.

  • Disposable coveralls – Full body coveralls prevent feces from contacting clothes. Can be thrown away after cleanup.

  • Rubber boots – Cover and protect shoes from exposure. Can be disinfected after use.

General Precautions

  • Never use a dry sweeping method like brooms or vacuums. This can spread particles into the air.

  • Wet down droppings before wiping or scraping to prevent particles from becoming airborne.

  • Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid stirring up dust. Open windows and use fans.

  • Seal off the area from other rooms during cleanup with plastic sheeting.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after removing gloves. Also wash any other exposed skin.

  • Launder all non-disposable protective gear and clothes separately after cleanup.

Step-By-Step Self-Cleanup Process

If you decide to undertake self-cleanup of a small amount of bird droppings, follow these steps:

1. Prepare the workspace

  • Isolate the area by sealing doorways with plastic sheeting. Open windows or use fans for ventilation.

  • Have all necessary cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment ready to go in the workspace.

  • Clear any items that could be contaminated by droppings out of the area. Cover any remaining furniture or items with plastic drop cloths.

2. Wet down droppings

  • Fill a spray bottle or garden sprayer with water, a mild detergent, and a disinfectant like bleach. Vinegar can also be used as a disinfectant.

  • Liberally spray the droppings pile to dampen any dried feces and prevent airborne dust. Reapply water whenever dust appears during the cleaning process.

3. Scrape away droppings

  • Using a long handled scraper or shovel, start removing the bulk of the feces pile. Try to avoid making dust clouds.

  • Place droppings straight into a plastic trash bag for quick disposal. Double bag droppings waste before placing in outdoor garbage receptacles.

4. Clean the surface

  • Use a stiff scrub brush and your cleaning solution to thoroughly scrub the surface beneath where droppings accumulated. This will remove residue and disinfect.

  • Rinse the area with clean water and absorb any puddles with old towels. Allow the surface to fully dry.

5. Disinfect tools

  • Thoroughly wash any cleaning tools like scrapers and brushes with disinfectant. Let tools soak for 10 minutes before rinsing.

  • Disinfect the outside of trash bags containing waste before disposing.

6. Remove protective gear and wash up

  • Remove protective gear like gloves, coveralls, and boots carefully to avoid contact with any remnants of droppings. Place disposable gear in a plastic bag.

  • Wash hands, wrists and any other exposed skin thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water.

  • Shower and launder your clothes separately after cleanup.

Preventing Future Buildup

To avoid dealing with a major accumulation of pigeon droppings again, take these steps to deter birds and prevent buildup:

  • Install bird spikes along common roosting spots like roof peaks, ledges, or rafters.

  • Attach bird netting over spaces birds can sneak into.

  • Repair holes in roofs and walls that birds can enter through. Use wire mesh to cover vents.

  • Have a professional apply bird repellent gel to surfaces where birds frequent. It makes the surface sticky and uncomfortable. Reapply as needed.

  • Use fake predator birds like owls and falcons to frighten pigeons away from the area. Move them frequently so birds don’t adjust.

  • Consider professional bird removal services to humanely trap problem birds and relocate them away from your property. This eliminates the source of droppings.

Regularly inspecting for small accumulations and cleaning them up quickly will prevent excessive buildup in the future. Taking steps to deter birds from roosting will also eliminate the problem at its source.

When to Call a Professional

While self-cleanup is appropriate for small jobs, contacting a professional pigeon droppings removal service is recommended in certain situations:

  • Large accumulations that have built up over many months or years. Professionals have heavy duty equipment to remove and dispose of large volumes safely.

  • Droppings present health hazards for occupants. Professional disinfection services can ensure all pathogens are neutralized so that the space is safe again, especially for at-risk groups.

  • Droppings are impacting valuable items like artwork, furniture, carpets, or clothing. Attempting self-cleanup risks further damage. Professionals know how to salvage valued items.

  • Droppings have seeped deep into porous surfaces and structural materials. These may need to be removed completely and replaced, which is best left to droppings remediation experts.

  • Droppings are in challenging locations high up on ledges, rafters, or other hard to reach spots. Professionals can access these areas much more efficiently and safely.

Contact a professional service if the droppings are beyond what you can handle safely with basic protective gear and cleaning solutions. Paying for expert removal is worthwhile to avoid health hazards and preserve your property.

Conclusion

Pigeon droppings require prompt and careful attention to eliminate associated health risks. While self-cleaning small amounts is possible with the proper precautions, large accumulations often call for professional hazard remediation services. Prevent future buildup by taking steps to deter birds from roosting on the property. With safe and effective cleanup, the hazards from pigeon droppings and bird feces can be fully cured.

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