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Swallows and the Problems they Cause

The swallows prefer an open area with low shrubs as a breeding ground or hunting ground. Especially if there is a lake or a pond in the area, swallows each small bugs in flight and on a lazy spring or summer afternoon you can watch they swoop and soar over freshly plowed fields or watch them dive into a pond to catch bugs or take a bath.

These birds are found to return to the same nesting grounds year after year both in the north in the summer and the south in the winter. The deforestation of areas such as small communities do not bother the swallows as long as they can build their nest and they can find bugs to eat having not trees do not bother them. They have natural predators such as large bats hawks and falcons. They get along with ospreys often nesting under their nests and warning the osprey of potential dangers.

​Their nests are cup shaped made from mud, grass, and any soft material they can find. The males find the nesting areas and the females build the nest both take turns guarding the nest when the eggs are inside, the male will guard more than the female these birds mate for life.

Bird Damage 

These beautiful birds can also cause major property damage especially if they build their nests over walk ways or in high traffic areas. They can cause stains on the sides of buildings or overpasses. From feces or urine. Many farmers believe they carry salmonella, or many types of diseases. This has never been proven but they can carry mites that will cause an allergic reaction. It is not pretty to see the droppings all over buildings or walkways.

Cliff Swallow
Cliff Barn Swallow

Dangerous Health Conditions

Swallows can carry mites that can cause flu like symptoms that can be accompanied by itching and rashes. They carry a mite that is like a bed bugs and will bite and draw blood from humans and pets. Inhaling the feces as you walk under the nest can cause lung problems.

They can build nests in the dryer vents and air vents in your home causing unsightly messes and blocking the air flow to and from your home. On farms they will build nests on unused machinery. Where ever there is a good food supply and they feel safe they will build a nest.

Control Options Strategies

Discouraging nest building can be costly, you cannot kill the birds they are protected, and you have to check inside the nest for eggs or babies, before you knock it down. Killing the eggs or babies can cost you a hefty fine.  Note that in certain areas, if nesting has begun, there are only certain times of year that control measures are permitted.  You must check your local regulations regarding control measures for cliff/barn swallow control.  This bird species is protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Just knocking down the nest will not deter the swallow from staying they will simply rebuild the nest again and again.

If you live in an area that is prone to swallows you may consider replacing your siding with smooth metallic siding this can discourage nest building. You can hang strips of aluminum along the nesting area or a plastic curtain that is taunt and will not catch the birds or other types of debris. You can paint the areas with paint that dries to a slick smooth surface. This will discourage the nesting also.

It is hard to sell a property that has a swallow infestation. People do not want to purchase a home that has been damaged by swallow droppings. This lowers the property value.

Removing the Barn Swallow Nest

As with most problems that cause damage to your home or property it is best if you allow the professionals to handle the problem. They have the training and experience to help you prevent or remove the problem. They know the laws pertaining to removal and can save you money on fines, as well as provide you information on helping to prevent a re-infestation.

Once you have the problem under control, you will have to replace or repair the damaged area(s). The bird control company can also help you insure that you do not have an infestation of mites or fleas in your home.

Cliff (Barn Swallow) Control Methods


  • Installation of ¾” bird netting in affected areas for swallow exclusion

  • Building modification and alteration

  • Electrified track system

  • When determining a Cliff Swallow control plan, it is important to take several factors into consideration:

  • How long has the swallow bird problem been going on for?

  • How many swallow nests?

  • Are the swallow nests located by an entrance?

  • What time of year and active swallow mud nesting?

  • What type of damage are the swallows causing to the structure?

If you have an old barn and you do not use it and like that the swallows eat insects and you enjoy watching them fly around your property, you can leave these nests alone and just protect the areas you frequent in your yard or farm.