Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests
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While pigeons can be pests when visiting a garden if there is a consistent food source available, they are largely harmless. However, they can leave excrement around gardens and cause damage to gardens and property. Express.co.uk has caught up with a pest control and a gardening expert to find out their advice for “effectively” deterring pigeons.
1. Remove food sources
Both experts agreed that gardeners need to make sure they have no food lying around their garden that will draw pigeons in.
Robert Collins, pest control expert at Myjobquote.co.uk said: “Just like most other animals, if you keep feeding pigeons, they will keep coming back for more. Plus, food will also attract others as the existing pigeons will pass this information on.
“Also, look out for other potential food sources in your garden and remove these. For example, ensure that all rubbish is properly sealed away and place in the bin with the lid tight shut.”
As well as removing food sources, Angela Slater, gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, exclusively told Express.co.uk that bird baths should be hidden if they want pigeons to stop fouling in their garden.
She said: “Don’t feed the wild birds as this will attract pigeons. Once they know there is a food source, they will hang around and even nest in your eaves, garage or shed. Unfortunately, if you have trees or shrubs with delicious berries, they will still visit your garden. Also, remove the bird bath as pigeons love splashing in shallow water.”
2. Place a scarecrow in the garden
Installing a scarecrow in your front or back garden – wherever the pigeons will see this figure – can be “effective” according to the experts.
Robert said: “There are many different types of effective scarecrows available. The best ones for scaring them away are ones with the silhouette of a hawk and ones that make noise and move.”
However, gardeners will need to change the position and location of the scarecrow regularly otherwise the pigeons may figure out that it is not a threat and could start using it as a perch.
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Similarly, Angela suggested installing “an automatic pigeon scarer”. She explained: “It will make the sound of a predator so that they keep away in fear of being eaten. The scarers cover about a square acre so should easily cover a normal garden. The noise is only audible to pigeons so shouldn’t be heard by humans or pets.
“Alternatively, buy a plastic predator and mount it on the top of a tall, thin cane. It needs to be as high as possible and preferably able to move around in a breeze to make it effective.”
3. Spray them with a hose
If you catch pigeons in the act in your garden, you can deter them by spraying the hose close to them. Robert said: “This will scare them away and prevent them from wanting to return.”
Alternatively, gardeners can install an automatic water jet which will help to protect the perimeter of their garden as “pigeons don’t like flying in the rain”.
4. Use reflective surfaces
According to Robert, reflective surfaces will help to deter pigeons as they create a prism effect that can temporarily affect a pigeon’s eyesight.
He said: “This will deter the birds from entering your garden and will, instead, encourage them to fly right past.”
5. Use strong spices
Pigeons have an extremely strong sense of smell which they use to travel. This can be used to gardeners’ advantage when deterring them.
Robert said: “Pigeons don’t like strong spices like chilli, black pepper, or cinnamon. Add some spices to a bag and place these around your garden.”
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The expert advised placing these spices “particularly in roosting areas”. He added: “This will help to deter the pigeons away from your garden space.”
6. Use netting
Netting can also be used, but needs to be carefully positioned and thought about, as the last thing you want is for birds and wildlife to become trapped or entangled.
Robert said: “It’s worth considering installing some bird netting to protect your garden shed from any unwanted visitors.
“This netting is a great way to provide some protection to your outdoor structures without causing any harm to the birds.”
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