Gulls Identification and Prevention from Prokill Local Experts


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Identify your Pests > Gulls (Fam. Laridae)

Birds: Gulls (Fam. Laridae)


Almost every town in the UK and Ireland now has a growing population of roof-nesting Gulls and national papers state that "Gulls may become a greater pest than rats" Our not so friendly Seagulls regularly feature in the press and stories of gulls terrorising workers on roofs and even striking bystanders on the street, are a regular occurrence - not just in coastal towns. Large Gulls are also regularly reported stealing food from the hands of tourists or protecting their young in an aggressive manner.

This aggressive behaviour, especially during summer time: July and August is now widely publicised, and their nesting and breeding habits can cause severe problems on buildings for all sectors of the community, due to extreme noise, especially during courtship and chick rearing, and blocking down-pipes and gutters with their alarmingly large amounts of excrement.

Several recent studies have shown that gulls carry disease organisms which cause food poisoning in humans and spread them in the environment. Organisms such as Salmonella spp, , vibrio cholerae spp, listeria spp, Escherichia coli are routinely carried by Gulls and distributed by way of their faeces. In 2003 an E-Coli outbreak caused the death of 20 elderly people in Scotland and the situation was caused by gulls contaminating water sources with both Salmonella spp. and E-Coli 0157.

Gulls (Fam. Laridae): Treatment & Prevention

Unlike many other pest bird species, Gulls introduce professional pest controller with two very different and severe challenges. Firstly, gulls do not settle in a single centre of activity, are highly adaptable and are often making a round trip of 100km in search of food in a matter of hours. Secondly, they are considerably more intelligent than most pest birds and despite the best efforts of some professionals to prevent or remove them, colonies have continued to expand.

Prokill have their main offices based in Bournemouth, Dorset, near the coast, Prokill pest technicians have extensive experience in systems that work and have rectified the costly mistakes made by home owners and national PLC's alike in using lesser alternatives which have included, the plastic eagle owl, streamers and other waving structures which decorate the sky line - along with a gull or two sitting on them - and complicated speaker systems playing distress calls which cease to work when covered in Seagull excrement.

Some bird spike systems, balloons representing large eyes, loud sudden noises, and even fireworks fail to prove their efficiency after a short period of time.

Bird Droppings: Health Hazards

Psittacosis (Ornithosis)
An infectious disease usually transmitted through inhalation of dust or airborne particles contaminated by bird faeces or nasal discharge or from contaminated feathers. The organism can survive many months in dry dust. The symptoms of human infection range from a flu-like illness with fever, joint and muscle pains of a few days (in about 25% of cases) to pneumonia (in about 60% of cases) and possible endocarditis (inflammation of the Heart) and hepatitis (inflammation of the Liver). REPORTED NUMBERS OF INFECTIONS IN THE UK AVERAGE AROUND 500 PER YEAR, AND HAVE MORE THAN DOUBLED SINCE THE EARLY 80s.

Bird Lung (Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis)
This is an allergic disease. Inhalation of bird droppings may cause acute disease with symptoms of fever and chest tightness with cough. The disease may also manifest itself in chronic form with shortness of breath on exertion. Such is the importance and danger now associated with the disposal of nesting and guano the HSE have issued guidance for removal and, states the following precautions are recommended:

1. Personal protective equipment in the form of a disposable one-piece boiler suit with close fitting hood should be worn.
2. Respiratory protective equipment in the form of a ventilated helmet ('airfed') with RPE to asbestos standards is advised.
3. Good personal hygiene measures are essential and should include adequate washing facilities and separate eating facilities.
4. The offending material should be removed in such a way as to minimise the amount of dust generated.
5. The bulk of the material should be placed in plastic sacks and disposal by incineration arranged.
6. The contaminated surfaces should be treated to eradicate bacteria.

It is also recommended that employees who are exposed to this hazard carry a letter from the company that will alert their GP to their occupational risk in the event of ill-health.

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