Swallow Control

Swallows are often welcome on farms, but not in farms. Swallows eat massive quantities of insects, but often become pests themselves by building their mud nests on man-made structures. Swallow nests deface and damage properties, and the birds’ droppings that result under the nests cause health concerns. Both require expensive and time-consuming clean-up and repair.

Swallows are protected under Federal Law. Nests may not be removed once eggs are laid inside until the chicks have hatched, fledged and left the nest. Prevention is legal, but can be challenging. Swallows can build a nest in as little as 24 hours; people will often knock down a freshly-created nest, only to find another one up in its place the next day.

How to Get Rid of Swallows in 3 Steps:

1.  Only when nests are vacant, fully remove any old nests and thoroughly clean all droppings and feathers. Use a cleaning solution and consider adding a coat of fresh paint over surfaces to be treated. Since these birds are habitual, it is very important to remove old nests from unwanted areas so they can’t be reused.

2.  Find the correct treatment option(s) for you:

  • Install Netting. Bird Netting is the only solution that we can guarantee will work 100% in the case of swallows. These birds are extremely difficult to treat, and this physical barrier entirely blocks off access to rafters, tricky building sides, and other desirable crevices or covered areas swallows wish to build their mud nests.
  • If netting is not an option, ultrasonic repellents, notably the Ultrason X and QuadBlaster PRO, have proven successful in deterring swallows from enclosed areas. Note: Sonic (recorded predator calls and distress cries) have little effect on barn swallows; because they build their nests in man-made structures, they feel secure. Ultrasonic devices, unlike sonic devices, rely on irritating frequencies rather than frightening noises.
  • Taste aversion liquid is very effective. Try painting 4 The Birds on surfaces, it is very effective when applied full-strength. Test on a small, inconspicuous area first to make certain it does not discolor paint.
  • If the area is dimly lit, or if the birds visit and build nests mostly at night, the Bird-X Laser Collection bird deterrents will make rafters and high-up spaces unpleasant for them.
3.  Maximize your results by adding visual deterrents, including the Prowler Owl and Irri-Tape. These methods have shown to increase results when combined with the deterrents noted above, but have varied results on their own. Providing an alternative nesting space nearby is also helpful; not only will this provide a welcoming area for these birds and their young, but it will help increase the results of your deterrents since it gives them an easy alternative space to nest.

To speak with our experienced staff or to find a qualified installer in your area, call Bird-X at 1-800-662-5021.

Important Information

Swallows are protected in the United States under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA). Once eggs are laid the nest may not be disturbed until the chicks have left.

All Bird-X products are humane, legal, environmentally-friendly, and are proven effective. Protecting an area from swallow nests is not illegal.

Barn swallows are welcomed by many people because they eat huge quantities of insects, including mosquitoes; they do not upset crops, but are also known to eat berries, seeds, and fruit. Swallows are known to catch insects just above water surfaces and typically cruise low to the ground, but are also known to capture insects at heights of 100 feet and beyond. They do not frequent feeders because they are insectivores, and do not harm agricultural crops.

Swallows rarely glide, instead they beat their wings rapidly and jet back and forth quickly. Their cup-shaped mud nests used to be built inside of caves, prior to integrating with the human world for their primary source of nest-shelter. The only North American Barn Swallows that still use caves are located in the Channel Islands on the west coast.

Barn Swallows are extremely communal with their nesting habits, often supporting each other by feeding one another’s young. Families often flock together, and each bird can live up to 8 years.

According to legend, Barn Swallows were given forked tails when one of them brought fire to humans after stealing it from the gods, and an angry deity hurled a firebrand at the swallow, singing its tail feathers.


Tips we’ve seen on the internet, debunked!

Tear down old nests, glue a rubber snake in place – they are scared of snakes. This may be somewhat effective, but will not solve the problem unless you cover your entire ceiling in rubber snakes.

Put up plastic spikes or put up sewing needles pointy-side up. you’d need a LOT of spikes to cover entire rafter areas…

Using Bird Gels will make the surface unpleasant for them. – actually, bird gels help swallows attach their mud nests by creating a sticky surface. The gel itself can even be used to create a nest!

Types of Swallows include:

  • Barn Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Bahama Swallow
  • European Swallow
  • Bank Swallow
  • Tree Swallow
  • Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
  • Violet-Green Swallow
  • Cave Swallow
  • Mangrove Swallow