Do bird repellent gels work to get rid of pest birds?
Bird repellent gels have been around in various forms for a long time. There are different brands made by different bird control manufacturers. Repellent gels come in different formulations and with a variety of different active - and inert - ingredients. Some work better than others and some times the effectiveness may vary depending on the environment and what substrate it is being used in/on. As with most bird control products, installations and services, one size just doesn't fit all.
That said, the goal when applying repellent bird gel is pretty much always the same: to make birds uncomfortable and get them to go somewhere else. Bird gels are simply a way of protecting a surface from pest birds and their activity. They do that by being sticky and tacky and usually hot or irritating to the birds feet. If you've ever dealt with repellent gels you will certainly understand the premise because it's a terrible product to deal with in many situations. It gums up any clothing and/or tools that it comes into contact with and is extremely difficult to wash off of your skin. No wonder birds hate it!
What are the good things about repellent gels?
The good news is that, for the most part, bird gels will work pretty well as far as discouraging birds from roosting on almost any given surface. These gel products are relatively inexpensive and, at least theoretically, easy to apply. They are readily available online and in some hardware stores and the only tools you need to make the application are rubber gloves and a caulk gun. In some situations (see the next paragraph for more info), bird gels offer extremely low visibility, which is a very good thing. If applied onto a pop out ledge, for instance, it would initially be less visibly than bird spike strips would be. In my mind one of the top benefits of using repellent bird gels is the fact that it is not a species specific product. In general terms it'll work on any species of bird.
What are the problems associated with the use of bird gel?
So - bird gels are cheap, easy to get, easy to apply and work on virtually any species of birds. Must be the best bird control product ever, right? Not so fast...
As mentioned above, gels can ruin clothing and tools. They can also ruin some surfaces, staining roof tiles, paint, stucco, etc. The gel collects dirt, dust, bird poop, etc. and it's all sun baked right onto the surface where it's applied. Repellent gels often turn black in time, negating the low visibility benefits. There are cleaning solvents available that are made specifically for the removal of these gels, but they usually leave at least some residue behind. Paint will not adhere to any surface where gels have been applied until ALL of the gel has been removed.
There are other problems with these gels. They are extremely temporary, lasting only a year or less and there's nothing you can do about that except apply more gel every so often. Bird gels are what we in the bird control industry call 'low - medium pressure' solutions. That means if the bird problem has been there awhile and the birds have become very committed to the place, it likely won't work at all. Often, after a month or two, what you have is the same bird problem you had in the beginning along with some ugly stuff on your building that has feathers and poop stuck in it. Believe me, the pigeons don't mind any of that.
As far as I'm concerned, repellent bird gels should only be used in very limited situations such as on the top of metal chimney spark arrestors, or maybe the top surface of some styles of light fixtures. Newer gels are getting better, but really there are a lot better ways to skin the cat in almost every case. A true professional Bird Control Pro will understand the judicial way to implement bird gels into an effective bird control plan.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY?
"They cleaned 12 bags of bird feces off of our roof! We couldn't believe how much there was. The netting and wire they used looks a lot better than all of that poop did and we don't have birds on our roof any more. Worth every penny!"