Let’s face it; feral pigeons are not everybody’s favourite animal…
They have taken over our cities, leaving behind mess and damage wherever they go. The fact we often refer to them as ‘flying rats’ clearly demonstrates our feelings towards pigeons – and it’s not a positive one.
Because of this, the term ‘vermin’ is often thrown about in discussions about pigeons. But is this correct? Are Pigeons actually classed as vermin?
In this article, we’ll be exploring what the term ‘vermin’ really means, whether pigeons fall into this category and the reasons behind this.
What Does Vermin Mean?
The term ‘vermin’ is defined in the dictionary as:
“noxious, objectionable, or disgusting animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control.”
The word vermin does not refer to a scientific classification, like the term rodent, for example. Instead, the word is somewhat subjective with technically no right or wrong answer.
Which Animals Are Considered Vermin?
While there is no scientific classification to determine which animals are vermin, certain animals are still commonly referred to as vermin. These include:
- Bed bugs
By looking at the types of animals typically considered vermin, we can see a trend appear; they are all pests.
It may be more accurate to describe the term vermin as a derogatory word used when referring to pests, which sometimes replaces the word pest in discussions of such animals.
Are Pigeons Vermin?
To cut a long story short, yes. We’ve explored the meaning of the word vermin, and we know it refers to animals that appear commonly, are hard to control and are seen as pests.
Unfortunately for pigeons, they fit into all of these categories – meaning they are indeed considered vermin.
You can’t walk down a high street in the UK without seeing multiple pigeons prowling around and searching for food – so they definitely appear commonly.
They carry and spread diseases and cause damage wherever they go, which certainly qualifies them as pests.
Therefore, it’s clear to see that pigeons are vermin.
What Problems do Pigeons Cause?
As pests, pigeons cause various issues for many people every year. In the UK alone, there are an estimated 18 million pigeons! Unfortunately, pigeons can also breed up to six times a year, meaning this number is constantly rising.
You may be thinking, well, they might poo on my car occasionally or get in my way in the street, but surely they don’t cause that much damage, right?
Well, I’m afraid you are mistaken! Pigeons cause extensive issues year in year out. Some of these problems include:
While they’re not ideal to look at, pigeon droppings are much more dangerous than you would first assume. Not only can they cause a potential slip hazard on the floor, but the droppings also carry health risks.
If you come into contact with droppings, you must wash your hands immediately. If you’re cleaning pigeon droppings on your property, we strongly advise you to wear gloves and a mask as suitable PPE.
You may think this is overkill; however, pigeon droppings can contain over 50 different types of bacteria – some of which can cause life-threatening diseases. For example, breathing in dust or water droplets contaminated by pigeon poo can cause a flu-like illness known as psittacosis and salmonella, toxoplasmosis, and even meningitis.
Amazingly, pigeon droppings contain incredibly high uric acid levels, making them corrosive. In addition, pigeons are likely to roost in the same place consistently, meaning they will also defecate in the same place. As a result, repetitive bird droppings can, over time, cause structural damage.
Did you know: It’s believed that the 2007 Minnesota Bridge collapse was a direct result of repeated bird droppings corroding the metal bridge supports!
Unfortunately for you, a typical area that pigeons like to build their nests is in gutters. They make their nests from sticks, and other organic materials they can find, which can clog up your drainage and guttering systems easily – resulting in a costly repair job for you.
As well as gutters, pigeons are also known to make themselves at home in loft spaces. As well as the physical damage this can cause to your home, it can also mean that they will create a lot of noise. You may find yourself being rudely awakened by cooing or the sound of their wings flapping about in your home.
Additionally, by building their nests in your lofts and bringing in high volumes of organic and dry material, these pigeons are also (albeit unknowingly) generating a fire hazard in your property! With plenty of electrical wires running through loft spaces, this creates a dangerous mix and significantly increases your chances of a house fire.
Finally, if your property has solar panels fitted, unfortunately, these are also at risk. Pigeons nest under solar panels for warmth and shelter. However, this can render them ineffective – resulting in an expensive callout for the solar panels to be repaired, as well as a separate job to remove the pigeons!
If you have solar panels and are looking to protect them, why not visit our Pigeon Proofing Solar Panels page and arrange a consultation today.
Pigeons are highly social animals, often spending their time in large groups. Unfortunately, they are also creatures of habit, always returning to their roosting spot. This dangerous combination can cause a single pigeon in your home to turn into an infestation very quickly.
As well as this, pigeons are incredibly stubborn and, over time, have become more and more comfortable around humans. Unfortunately, this makes them one of the more challenging pests to remove once they have decided to call your property home.
It’s clear that pigeons are much more dangerous than you would first assume, so it’s vital that we control them in order to protect not only our homes, but also our health.
If you’ve noticed signs of pigeons on your property, check out our helpful blog post full of tips and tricks for how to get rid of pigeons.
While there are many DIY options available on the market for pigeon proofing and control, we recommend using the services of bird control experts to ensure the job is completed correctly.
You may be surprised to hear that pigeons, and other wild birds, are actually protected under the law. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 declares it is illegal to kill or injure any wild bird, including pigeons and seagulls unless general licensing regulations are complied with.
At Integrum, all of our bird control experts are BPCA members and are fully licensed to carry out the task at hand successfully. Keep yourself and your family safe by leaving it up to the professionals; it’s not worth the risk of contracting a life-threatening illness or receiving a criminal conviction.
Integrum offers pigeon proofing and control services in the South East of England and across London.