Getting rid of barn swallows is a common problem for many households and building owners in the United States. Most people consider them a pest when they build their nests in homes and properties, but it is vital to note that legally, they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
If you want to learn how to get rid of barn swallows effectively and naturally, this is the right place for you to start. Below is a list of effective and humane ways to handle these pesky birds.
Table of Contents
What You Should Prepare
Here are some suggestions for tools/items so you can ensure barn swallows will not visit your house again:
- Bird netting/nesting shield
- Ultrasonic sound deterrent
- Owl/eagle decoy
- Hanging Reflectors
Ways to Get Rid of Barn Swallows
1. Install a Bird Barrier
One of the most straightforward ways of keeping barn swallows from nesting in the barn or on house ledges is by installing structural barriers that will prevent them from building a nest.
An example of these barriers includes a metal sheet or netting to keep them away from overhangs and other potential nesting sites.
A swallow nesting shield may also be placed easily over sites in the house, such as eaves and openings that these birds can access. These shields have single filament lines hanging loosely, and their texture annoys birds and keeps them away.
- To install netting, enclose it around the target area to measure the required size for the barrier, making sure there’s no hole or space where birds can enter.
- Mount support cables made of galvanized or stainless steel and attach them to the netting with a hog-ring tool. This will secure the barrier and prevent it from sagging.
- The cables should run through ferrules, and their ends should connect to turnbuckles for security.
With this setup, you’ll be able to deter barn swallows from building their nests.
2. Remove empty barn swallow nests
The mud nests that both male and female barn swallows build together are cup-shaped and are usually placed against a wall or any vertical projection they deem appropriate for their needs.
They can re-use their built nests from the previous breeding season, therefore, it is best to take out constructed nests in your barn to get rid of mud swallow birds.
First, make sure that the nest is empty before removing it. Barn swallow removal is considered illegal when the nests contain eggs or live swallows. So, wait until the birds migrate, which is often October to March, to eliminate their resting site.
When you catch swallows starting to build a home, you can wash them off with water to deter barn swallows from nesting in the first place. While you keep swallows out of sheds this way, remember to wear protective equipment in case the birds react negatively.
3. Put in a Sound Deterrent.
Installing a sound deterrent is another way of keeping barn swallows away from your area. Birds are very sensitive to sound; thus, high-frequency ultrasonic noise can drive them away.
This type of barn swallow deterrent sound is easy to set up and has several settings to customize the frequency and coverage.
When I want to get rid of barn swallows on my porch, balcony, or shed, I consider this the best choice because I only need to push the product into the ground with a stake or hang it on the wall.
My ultrasonic repellers use solar energy and batteries, so there’s no need for wiring.
4. Use Visual Deterrents
Another barn swallow prevention strategy you can easily do is installing visual deterrents in your yard or the roof of your barn or shed. There are a lot of options for this, and it is more effective if you install more than one type.
To prevent barn swallows from building a nest, you can scare them away by placing a realistic or 3D owl decoy in strategic places. This item is easily bought online, and you can get an owl with a sensor and eyes that light up when movement is detected up to 10 feet away.
Another option to stop swallows nesting on your house, or roofing is getting a kite shaped like a bird of prey, such as a hawk or eagle. Place it on your roof to deter swallows from nesting in eaves, vents, and in chimney.
Hanging reflectors can also be combined with other visual deterrents to keep swallows away. They are easy to set up; you can hang them in garage or balcony because birds are scared of sudden movements, including the reflections these hanging visual deterrents produce.
Related: Other ways to get rid of birds on your roof.
5. Seek Help from the Experts
When you have exhausted all efforts to deter barn swallows from building nests in your building, and the problem seems unsolvable, it’s time to ask for help.
You can contact your local wildlife office to seek advice on your barn swallow problem to ensure no laws are broken when handling these protected birds.
You can also hire avian experts to offer their professional services in setting up bird deterrents and choosing the right barn swallow repellent.
Bad Effects of Barn Swallows
Let’s face it, the swallow mud nests on your barn or porch are not a pretty sight. The cup-shaped structures stick to the surface and ruin the appearance of your home.
Aside from this, the extensive bird droppings and urine can also destroy and taint the surfaces of your buildings. They can affect your health by passing on parasites, and the stench they emit is also downright annoying.
Bird droppings can cause and spread bacterial and viral diseases. Homeowners who have swallows nesting in their homes may suffer from respiratory conditions caused by bird feathers or droppings, food poisoning, and other infections.
Strategies to Control Barn Swallows
The above-mentioned ways are the most common strategies to effectively control barn swallows. Other strategies that can be employed are:
- Bird repellents such as methyl anthranilate and barn swallow deterrent spray homemade with vinegar and peppermint oil.
- Setting up man-made nests in areas away from buildings and homes to keep them away from residential buildings.
Is vinegar an effective barn swallow repellent?
Vinegar deter barn swallows because the smell is unpleasant to them. You can spray vinegar on areas where you don’t want them to nest, such as the ledges on your porch, balcony, and shed.
How can mothballs stop swallows from nesting in your house?
The ammoniacal scent of moth balls keep barn swallows away from your property. Place them in strategic places such as the corners of your garage, terrace, and veranda to deter them from coming near.
After reading this short but helpful article, you now know how to get rid of swallows permanently. It’s up to you what strategies to employ for this common problem during swallow breeding season.
Controlling these birds is not easy to do, but there are many ways on how to get rid of barn swallows humanely and sustainably. Try them out, and let us know in the comments section if they worked!
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.