Pest Control and Pet Birds
Anyone who owns or cares for exotic birds, pet birds knows the possible
hazards that can harm their pets. In many ways, birds are far more
sensitive to various chemicals and substances than other animals. Many
different items can be hazardous to the health of birds. This article will
deal with pest control measures and integrated pest management procedures in
homes where birds are kept as pets as well as in aviaries where many birds of
all ages are raised or housed.
This article is basically divided into two sections: pest control and pest
prevention. Both should include an integrated pest management (IPM)
approach to controlling pests and preventing future infestations. Specific
pests (both household and bird specific parasitic varieties) will be
discussed. Pests can include roaches, moths and rodents found in the building and
also mites that attack birds.
Our main goal is to safely keep birds in a pest free environment.
Mites That Attack Birds
Moth Problems Insect Pest Prevention, Rodent Prevention
Mites That Attack Birds
If you have problem with mites that are a pest to family members, go to
the Biting Mites information page.
These particular mites are usually introduced into a home from wildlife on or
around the property and are pests of people. There are mites that can
find there way into your home but these should be handled in a different manner
- preventative measures on and around the exterior of the structure to keep them
from entering. These measures include sanitation and (in some cases)
spraying shrubs and other vegetation in close proximity to the home.
Too many cases are attributed to mites which are not mites at all. Know
the health and habits of your pet. Education is a fantastic weapon!
Roach, Moth Control and Bird Cages
Pest Prevention Measures
Measures for controlling existing infestations of roaches (or grain moths and
other pests) as well as rodents (rats, mice) will many times over-lap the same
measures used to prevent the same pests.
Pest Prevention Measures for
Roaches, grain moths, rats and mice are often attracted to the same materials:
small animals, birds, moisture, fecal matter, grains and an easily accessible
water supply. Pet shops, aviaries, veterinarian offices and homes with
pets usually provide all of these attractive materials.
When controlling any indoor pest, the following questions should be asked:
- Where do the pests come from, how do they gain entrance to the area?
- What are the food sources that attract and sustain the populations?
- What conditions encourage their existence and growth?
Knowing the answers to these questions will go a long way in limiting the
pests in your home or business. In some cases, eliminating the food source
(and other conditions that encourage pests) is almost impossible. Grains
(such as those used in pet foods, bird feed) are attractive to pests.
Eliminating these grains entirely is a ridiculous idea but limiting access to
the grains is a great help.
Existing Infestations of Insect Pests
Feed should be purchased from a dealer that cares about
the quality of the grains. Quality includes trying as hard as possible to
limit roaches, moths, weevils, etc. from infesting the food. Keeping
such materials 100% free of pests is not possible but if the dealer clearly does
not make constant efforts to control the bugs, find another dealer.
Owners of pet birds usually prefer to purchase special bird food mixes in
bulk. The drawback to this is that the more bird food that is purchased
and stored, the more inviting the grains are to insects and rodents. There
are two measures that will help keep down roaches, weevils and grain moths: keep
grains in a freezer until a day or so before needed and keep unfrozen grains in
an air-tight container. These two measures will also severely limit a
rodent's access to the food.
Enough cannot be said about sanitation in and around bird cages. Daily
cleaning is a must. Otherwise you are begging for a roach infestation and
stubborn populations of rats or mice.
Even with the best sanitation procedures, pest problems do occur. A great
pest management tool is the use of sticky traps
which capture, monitor and help control roaches, moths and even small
rodents. Be careful when placing sticky pads in
rooms where birds are allowed to roam. A good way to monitor (or
control) many pests near bird cages is to combine mouse
glue boards and rat bait stations. Glue
boards should be hidden inside of rat bait stations to keep birds safe from the
sticky glue. The bait stations should then be placed on the floor (next to
walls) where pests are known or suspected of traveling. Glue boards are
not expensive and can be replaced easily. These glue traps will capture
bugs before they can reproduce and before they gain access to your birds'
food. Pest control technicians often use glue boards to monitor
populations of different pests. The special design of bait stations allow easy access for insects
and rodents but will prevent pets from coming into contact with the glue
strips. The use of grain moth traps will help prevent
major outbreaks of these moth pests. Never use too
many moth traps at a time in a single room! Excessive pheromones
released in an area will only serve to excite and confuse moths. In this
state, moths are unable to locate the source of the lure (your traps) and few
(if any) pests will be captured. Using moth traps in preventative programs
will alert you to any possible grains that have been recently introduced into
the environment that are moth infested.
Grain Moths Cockroaches
The best way to control, eliminate or prevent grain moths (sometimes known
as flour moths) in areas where birds or bird food are kept is to use pesticide
free pheromone moth traps. Do not use just any kind of moth
trap. The pheromones used to lure and capture clothes moths are entirely
different from those used in grain moth control. Use traps that are
designed for capturing grain or flour moths; generic attractants that claim to
help capture several different pests (beetles, moths, etc.) do not work nearly
as well as do traps designed specifically for grain moths.
As mentioned earlier, it is best to use the correct number of traps for a given
area. When multiple traps are set out in a room, the powerful moth
pheromones can overwhelm existing moths. The moths must have a clear,
single signal to follow, other wise they will just fly around in a confused
state, unable to locate your trap.
Birds should never be exposed to airborne particles, especially
insecticides. Their delicate lungs cannot tolerate particles that are
normally dealt with by human lungs and respiratory system. Tiny droplets
(airborne particles) are not only inhaled but also contaminate foods and water
dishes. Many household pests can be controlled with the use of pheromone
traps for cockroaches, roach baits or sticky
traps. Roaches can be controlled with the use of carefully placed
roach baits. Roach bait stations can be
used; roach bait gels will usually work better
and are generally safer for birds. Avert and Maxforce
are roach baits in gel formulations that can carefully be placed for roach
control. Bait should be placed in areas where roaches are most likely to
find the bait but not in areas where birds can come into contact with the
bait. These areas will vary with each situation - some birds are allowed
to roam and play while others spend most of their lives in cages only.
Suggested areas to bait for roaches include rooms or cabinets where bird food is
stored, behind light-switch covers and electrical outlets, in cracks, crevices
and seams around windows and doors. When dealing
with very smart or inquisitive birds, it is best to place baits or sticky traps
when the birds cannot see what you are doing. Smart, inquisitive birds are
much like children - they will want to investigate anything they see you
do. These and other pest control measures are best done when birds
are asleep or at least when their cages are placed in another room or when cages
It is often difficult to
get rats and mice to accept rodenticides due to the bird food that is readily
available to them. Rodenticides (rat and mouse baits) can also be carried
by rodents. While being carried they will many times drop pieces of the
baiting material in reach of pets. For these two main reasons, the use of
rodenticides is discouraged when rodents become a problem in areas where birds
and other pets are kept. If rodent baits are used anyway, keep the
following in mind:
Baits should not be used in a way that will allow pets to come into contact
with baits. For this reason, baits should only be used in other rooms where
there are no pets but where rodents are know to travel as they forage for
food. Place Contrac bait blocks on safety rods found in
Protecta bait stations. This will encourage the mice or rats to eat the rodenticide
while still in the stations instead of carrying the bait elsewhere.
use of rodent traps is usually a better method of control
than baits, when dealing with rodents in areas close to birds. When placed
correctly, the traps will not be a danger to birds. If your birds are
allowed to roam outside of their cages, traps must be placed so that the birds
are still safe.
Many times people will attempt to place traps during the night and pick them
back up during the day when their birds are not in their cages. This might
work for mice but not for rats. Mice are inquisitive but rats are usually
afraid of new things in their territory. Moving rat traps every day will
discourage rats (and sometimes mice) from getting close to the trap.
An excellent way to capture rodents is to place a T-Rex
Trap inside of a Protecta Rat Bait Station.
The T-Rex was designed
to fit perfectly inside of the Protecta. T-Rex traps will kill rats or
mice and are easy to set. In areas where bird feed is present, mix bird
feed with a little peanut butter and use this mixture as the lure or bait for
your rodent trap. Be patient. It might take some time for the
rodents to try your bait. After all, they already have access to their
favorite food: grains.
Pet stores and large aviaries have had success keeping down rodent populations
by using a combination of glue traps, rodenticides and bait stations. The
bait stations are placed around the exterior of the building. A constant
supply of fresh bait will keep down the number of rats that might enter the
buildings. Check and replenish (if necessary) the rodenticide on a weekly
Placing several glue traps indoors will help trap rats and mice before they get
to the bird cages. Glue traps are excellent for capturing mice. You
might have success using them with rats. If not, switch to a fast kill
trap such as the T-Rex.
Rodents Rodenticides German
Cockroach Glue Traps Pest
Control Information Pest Control
Supplies Household Pests Nuisance Bird Control