Starlings are No Match for an Integrated Approach

By |  March 1, 2007

Joe Felegi, president of Critter Control of Florida, is always appreciative of the mutual referrals his six-office franchise has with several area pest management firms. But one recent referral in particular required his crew to become a bit creative.

Bird Slope added to the netting’s efficacy by preventing starlings and other pest birds from gaining a foothold on the ledges on which it was installed.

“A pest management firm referred us to a five-story building in Palm Beach County, on the island,” Felegi explains. “The building’s residents were beginning to complain of mites, stemming from a major starling problem.”

Critter Control’s clients were particularly concerned with the aesthetics of the netting, and were relieved to find it was barely detectable from the street.

The unusual architecture of the building provided ideal harborage for the population of European starlings: The tiny birds were roosting in the decorative wood soffits, and found the many knotholes to be quite cozy and protective.

After assessing the situation, Felegi and his team decided to take an integrated approach, using two Bird-B-Gone products. The ¾-in.-mesh Bird Net 2000 would be able to protect all of the detail work on the building, while the Bird Slope could protect the various ledges and beams. By joining several 2-ft. lengths of Bird Slope, the crew would be able to create almost a “sliding board” effect for birds trying to roost — they would not be able to gain a foothold on the 90-degree angled product, which is made out of non-conductive, sun- and weather-resistant PVC.

The decorative wood pieces and knotholes in the building’s soffits provided extra haborage for the starlings.

Felegi presented the plan to the building’s owners, who also own several other, similarly constructed buildings in close proximity (in fact, the building itself houses only caretakers and other employees of the neighboring commercial properties). But they initially balked at the idea.

“They didn’t want us to use net at first, because they were worried about aesthetics,” Felegi says. “But we put up a sample for them, and they realized they couldn’t see it from the street. The sample made the sale.

“In fact,” he adds with a laugh, “when we were done with the installation, they were complaining that they didn’t think we did anything, because they couldn’t see it!”

The lack of starlings milling around, however, soon gave them their proof.

Once the crew’s work was complete, Felegi contacted the PMP to green-light the mite treatment. Starting next summer, his crew will follow up on the account on an annual basis to ensure all the anchors are secure and to repair any tears in the mesh.

President Joe Felegi believes that the unobtrusive-yet-effective combined approach is what made the difference in controlling the birds.

At press time, Felegi is in negotiations to treat the clients’ other buildings nearby.

“We had to educate the owners that this is an investment to their property, not just a short-term solution,” he says. “They understand now that this adds value, and protects the building’s occupants.”

This article is tagged with and posted in Birds, Invasive/Occasional Species, Starlings

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