By James Rodriguez
Territory Manager, J.T. Eaton & Co.
Knowledge of the biology of the bird you’re trying to control is key to a successful job. Too large a spike will not work for smaller birds; improper spacing of electric track will not minimize the population; the over-use of visual deterrents like plastic owls can make a business or home look like a theme park. For gels in particular, overapplication or using an improper gel for the job can lead to employee injuries or litigation.
Bird gels should be used with caution, and never be promoted as a permanent solution for any job, especially in hot weather. The type of surface you’re applying the gel to should always be considered. Metal surfaces will cause gels to run, and on porous surfaces the gel will be absorbed and only effective for a short period of time.
Technician safety and endangered species should also be considered when choosing a gel. Gels that contain capsaicin or other additives to burn the feet of birds, for example, can also cause damage the applicator’s eyes and skin if used improperly. Additional training should be considered. In addition, knowingly harming endangered or protected species can be punishable and fined by local and federal authorities.
Tips for choosing the right gel for the job include:
• Apply duct tape (or similar tape) to the surface before applying the gel on top of the tape. That way, after the birds have learned to not land on the treated surface, the tape can easily be removed — leaving a clean surface.
• Seal porous surfaces with spray lacquer or clear glue mixture before applying gel.
• Train technicians and applicators on the hazards of using gels that contain capsaicin as part of your Hazardous Communication Program.
• Wear eye protection and gloves to avoid contact with capsaicin gels.
• Never apply gels directly to building edges, due to possible run-off.
• If endangered or protected species are present in the community where you’re applying the gel, consider applying a bird gel that doesn’t contain capsaicin, or use exclusion products.
• Manufacturers’ support and training can take your business to the next level. Knowing more about the proper application of bird gels can help avoid accidents or damage to structures.