Columns

Heed the word: watch those birds

May 2, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
A pest management program that doesn’t address birds has a significant gap.



Birds are major food processing pests that sometimes are ignored when facilities focus on controlling insects and rodents. The flying creatures carry diseases that can be passed to humans. Bird flu, for example, could become a worldwide pandemic. People who have contracted bird flu live in close proximity to domesticated fowl, but there are concerns that the disease may spread to migratory flocks and infect people the world over.

Disease can be passed to humans through droppings in water, droppings on food, through inhalation of dried feces or dust, and from parasites that live on birds.

According to the University of Indiana, Purdue University and other researchers, the primary bird pests-pigeons, starlings and sparrows-can spread a wide variety of illnesses. These include bacterial diseases such as salmonellosis, listeriosis and yersiniosis; mycotic diseases like cryptococcosis, aspergillosis and histoplasmosis; and illnesses from protozoa, viruses and various parasites.

The organism that causes cryptococosis is found in up to 80% of pigeon roosts. Recently I worked with a dried products processor that experienced a salmonella incident. The problem was tracked back to sparrows that flocked around the receiving dock to eat spilled grain. These birds had been drinking water at the local waste treatment facility.

Much more than disease

Bird dropping can destroy metal, weaken grout and mortar, and create fire hazards. Accumulations of droppings can cause workers to slip. Droppings also create a bad impression with customers and other visitors.

Avoid using ornamental plants that attract birds around the facility. Also, if your facility has roosts or nesting areas, take steps to eliminate, block or make them undesirable. Use bird netting spikes and chemical repellents to help discourage roosting. Don’t rely on fake owls or other raptors. Birds are not easily fooled and may end up roosting on them. Use bird calls or raptor cries to keep birds away.

Always apply basic pest management principles.  Deny birds food, water and places to roost and nest.

When a California processor failed to properly monitor and maintain its fruit receiving stations, flocks of swallows built nests in and around the structure. By the time the company realized what happened, the nests were full of eggs and babies, and under the law, the processor could not touch the nest. As a result, the plant’s fruit receiving season had to be modified.  Today, this processor carefully monitors its station and shoos the birds away before they can nest.

The best strategy is to work with your in-house or pest control operator to identify potential bird concerns and devise strategies to ensure birds stay not only out of the plant, but away from the plant. Without a commitment to good sanitation, birds and other pests will make themselves at home.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Richard Stier, Contributing Editor

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering December 2014 Cover

2014 December

In the December 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about our Fabulous Food Plant feature on the Chelten House, a new facility in Las Vegas.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.