How to Remove and Control Barn Swallows Using the Best Methods and Products You Can Trust

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 12 minutes.
Updated: .

Are barn swallows and their nests just on your house? Then, you know – these landing and nesting birds create a lot of noise on your property, especially at night when you sleep.

Even when barn swallows are outside of your property, their droppings, feathers and nest paraphernalia can get sucked into drainpipes or vents and create a fire hazard that can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. When vents become garbage cans for swallows, any odor or disease that comes along with these birds can contaminate the air you breathe and food you eat.

In this article, you will find out how to make the process of swallow nest removal much easier.

Basic information

SWALLOW IDENTIFICATION:

Swallow identification

  • Body. These noisy birds have a long, slender and streamlined body with lengthy and pointed wings.
  • Head. The head of a bird is small but the beak – that is short – is strong.
  • Tail. The tails of swallows can be square-ended or forked.
  • Legs. The legs of the barn swallow are short.
  • Color. Most species of barn swallows are white below and glossy green or blue above.

GEOGRAPHY:

Swallows geographyBarn swallows are small, very adaptable birds that are native in all the bio geographic regions except Australia and Antarctica.

The breeding range of these brightly colored birds includes northern Europe, North America, north-central Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern China, and Japan.

SWALLOW BIRD NESTS IDENTIFICATION: Where do they nest?

Swallow nestAnywhere, where there are open and affordable areas for water source foraging and a sheltered ledge for their nest.

When it comes to swallows nesting habits you are to know these birds prefer building their nests under the eaves of houses, bridges, boat docks and in rock caves.

Do swallows cause problems?

Swallow nest problemsNesting swallows can become a nuisance for most homeowners. Not only they can build mud nests around building exteriors, including eaves and porches but also defecate and foul feed in and around their mud nests, damaging exteriors of homes or other buildings.

What’s more large colonies in urban areas can create health risks for people living there.

Finally, the disease – like salmonella – can be transmitted through the droppings of barn swallows.

Barn swallows, mud and cliff do carry diseases, including encephalitis, histoplasmosis, salmonella, toxoplasmosis and Crypto coccus.
These swallow illnesses are usually spread by contact with swallow nest materials, poop, and dead swallows. 

To stop swallows from building mud nests you are to use exclusion and other deterrent products and techniques. Here is how to do it.

Two efficient deterrents to drive them away

1. Bird-B-Gone Swallow Shield Deterrent

Swallow Shield DeterrentView on Amazon

This used to keep troublesome birds from building their mud nests under eaves or on the sides of buildings. Each strip of this deterrent has a self-adhering back that is effectively used for fast application on gables entryways, eaves, and other areas.

How it works: The hanging “twine” blocks barn swallows access to nesting sites. Swallows will not want to wade through these strips, and will surely move on to a better spot to nest.

The product is ideal for: gables, eaves, overhangs.

Benefits: Humane way of swallow control, easy installation due to adhesive strip, low-profile – virtually invisible.

Swallows can build their nest in as little as 24 hours.

Installation

For temporary installation of deterrent:

  • Leave the adhesive backing in place.
  • Position deterrent about one or two inches from the wall in the prepared area and attach using 2 – not included – fasteners through the mounting holes provided.

For permanent installation:

  • Remove the adhesive red backing.
  • Position deterrent about one or two inches from the wall in the prepared area and firmly press Swallow Shield onto the eave or gable.

2. Bird Slope 4′ Sections

Bird Slope SectionA physical bird deterrent used to block birds – like barn swallows – from landing or nesting on open ledges.

Cost: $255.00

Where to buy: available at Bird-B-Gone

How it works: The unique design of Bird Slope makes it impossible for swallows to land or nest in 90° areas such as eaves or ledges.

Benefits: Humane way of swallow control, easy installation.

Effectiveness: The product is effective for small and large birds.

Have questions on installing the product? Call Bird-B-Gone Company at 1-888-570-0360.

How to repel barn swallows with best-selling bird control systems

1. BirdXPeller Pro Electronic Bird Repeller

BirdXPeller ProView on Amazon

This best-selling sonic barn swallows and bird control system uses real sounds and a variety of naturally recorded bird distress predator cries that frightens, confuse, and disorient pest birds like barn swallows within the effective range.

Ideal for use at: sheds and storage buildings.

How it works: emits audible sounds that deter barn swallows.

The product is ideal for: gables, eaves, overhangs.

Benefits: it is a humane and eco-friendly way to repel barn swallows from outdoor areas, save parks, yards, equipment, etc. from corrosive swallows droppings, avoid safety and government inspection failures, prevent the spread of diseases, decrease nuisance for residents and increase property esthetics.

2. Bird Blazer by Bird-X

Bird blazerView on Amazon

This remote-controlled laser device can safely frighten barn swallows away. Bird Blazer system uses fat-beam laser bird control technology at random intervals in color combinations barn swallows don’t like, forcing them to find calmer landing locations.

Ideal for use at: stables, barns and storage sheds.

How it works: The product safely frightens barn swallows away, works day and night.

The product is ideal for: gables, eaves, overhangs.

Benefits: Protect property and equipment from corrosive swallows droppings, prevent the spread of diseases, decrease nuisance for residents and increase/maintain property aesthetics.

Four effective steps to get rid of troublesome barn swallows

Step 1. Swallow bird nest removal

  • Swallow bird nestRemove old barn swallows nests – but only when they are vacant – and thoroughly clean all feathers and droppings with a cleaning solution.
  • Add a coat of fresh paint over areas to be treated.
  • Remove all old nests from unwanted surfaces so they cannot be reused.
Remember, barn swallows are protected under Federal Law. Once eggs are laid inside nests, you cannot remove them until the chicks have hatched.

Step 2. Install netting

If you want to block off access to tricky building sides, rafters and other desirable areas or crevices – barn swallows wish to build nests – bird netting is the best solution. Install bird – swallow – netting wherever you want to keep barn swallows out of an area or other valuable property. We suggest buying the following products:

  • PE-Plus Premium Grade BirdNetBird Netting: PE-Plus Premium Grade BirdNet
    Cost: $ 190.20
    Where to buy: available at Bird-X.
    Ideal for use at: underpasses and bridges.
    How it works: effectively repels swallows out of desired areas.
    Benefitsit is a humane and eco-friendly way to repel barn swallows, nearly invisible, pliable lightweight, maintenance-free material and 100% efficient everywhere this product is installed – great for zero-tolerance zone.
  • Structural, Heavy Duty BirdNetBird Netting: Structural, Heavy Duty BirdNet – physically blocks barn swallows from entering, nesting, feeding, roosting and causing damage. The product is ideal for homeowners, farmers, gardeners and small businesses.
    Cost: $240.15
    Where to buy: available at Bird-X.
    Ideal for use at: trees, gardens and outdoor areas.
    How it works: effectively repels swallows out of desired areas.

Step 3. Deter swallows with ultrasonic repellents

If netting is not an option consider using the following control system:

QuadBlaster QB-4 – emits sound to intimidate, confuse and disorient swallows to quickly scare them away from the treated areas.

QuadBlaster QB-4View on Amazon

Ideal for use at: trees, gardens and outdoor areas.

Where to buy: available on Amazon.

Benefits:

  • easy to install, low-profile solution;
  • can be used indoors or in semi-enclosed spaces;
  • emit high-frequency sounds;
  • solid steel construction;
  • cut recurring cleanup and repair costs;
  • decrease nuisance for residents, customers and workers.

Step 4. Add visual deterrents

If you want to maximize the results – when combined with the effective deterrents – add visual deterrents. We suggest using the following:

Prowler Owl – effectively scares away barn swallows and other birds.

Prowler OWLView on Amazon

Ideal for use at: marinas and boat docks.

Where to buyavailable on Amazon.

Benefits:

  • Prevent the spread of diseases;
  • Protect equipment and buildings from corrosive bird droppings;
  • Save outdoor grounds from bird damage;
  • Increase property esthetics;
  • Avoid safety inspection failures.
  • Always-moving “hunting” posture keeps swallows away.

How it works: effectively repels swallows out of desired areas.

Prevent barn swallows from returning to build nests again in the same area.
Install an owl, hawk decoy or slant board to block swallows’ nesting site.

Air treatment system

When the weather turns warmer, barn swallows droppings can disfigure lawns on your property. So, how to get rid of nesting birds?

Bird-B-Gone AAFS Control moduleYou can use Bird-B-Gone AAFS Control Module. This product is the first fogging unit that offers a computerized touch screen and programmable components. The product distributes methyl anthranilate that is really effective in repelling pest birds.

Cost: $3,565.00

Benefits:

  • Each drop station can cover a location of about six, eight thousand square feet.
  • Spray units of the product can be set to go off at alternating times or simultaneously.
  • The control panel will notify you when to refill the units.
  • Ideal for outdoor use!
  • Easy to use and install!
  • Uses less liquid repellent than other fogging units!
  • Effective for all birds!
  • Programmable system to fit your requirements!

Where to use: The Bird-B-Gone AAFS can be used in garages, patios, parks, landfills, warehouses, factories, courtyards, airline hangars, golf courses, rooftops, docks/marinas.

When it comes to swallows’ removal you should act humanely. Consider our tips and don’t let these wonderful birds take control of your house.

You can find further details of Birds Control here.

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EDITED BY
I have been working on pest extermination information for a long time and am excited to share this information with you. I also provide product recommendations for my favorite pest extermination products.
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  1. We have used the streamers , the predator calls, owl decoys, and are now knocking down nests twice daily. We took down 11 this AM. Our horse barn is 40 x40 feet and we cannot leave it closed because we have horses. I am sorry but none of the above works. We are in our 80’s and do not think these birds are wonderful.

  2. Do laser beams work on the inside of the barn”

  3. I agree with you 100% Have you found anything that works to keep the birds out of your horse barn? We have 10 stalls and it is impossible to keep the stall doors closed all of the time

  4. I am heartbroken to come across this information and posts. Swallows are a hugely beneficial bird! They EAT MOSQUITOS for starters. “These twittery, flittery birds love to eat the insects that humans consider pesky.
    Imagine: 60 insects per hour, a whopping 850 per day. That’s how much each bird eats” 25 years sharing our barn in the spring time with swallows and our health and horses health are just fine. Go figure.

  5. And about how much shit and debris they leave behind! I want them out of my barn and am setting it up so the barn cats can accomplish that.

  6. A depressing article in every way: selfish, human-centric, eco-ignorant. It is shocking that this article was posted only recently; to depict swallows as flying rats. Please remember, we share this planet with other species, especially beneficial species like the swallow. Their numbers are falling year-on-year because of the selfishness of humankind. They should instead be encouraged – even celebrated.

    OK, a nest over a porch is an understandable problem. But surely we can learn to co-exist? For many, it is always a joy when they return home in the Spring.

  7. They are better ways to get rid of mosquitos than these birds. I am tired of my front porch and lighting being covered in their poop. It is nasty and full of disease. I spray them with a water hose daily and wash away their nest. Disgusting birds.

    • Oh your poor bleeding heart! If you care so much about swallows, then YOU should put up swallow nests and feed them and make them welcome on your property! I bet you care less about human life than swallows. Hippy!

  8. I’m sorry Kathy but they cause damage. We don’t live on a farm we live in a townhome and they are on our porch dive bombing the kids and not to mention the amount of bird poop all over my chairs.

  9. We tried the hawk decoys which seemed to work for about a week. And yes I did move them every day or every other day.

    Kathy – While they may eat mosquitoes they are a nuisance when they insist on building their nest above our front door.

    Anyone tried the netting?

  10. Histoplasmosis is a VERY dangerous disease coming from their droppings. I spent 30 years in a large refinery where we had a high concern of this disease from pigeon droppings. The pigeons roosted, nested and raised in our tank and tower structure where our workers were at risk. Don’t know about horses and their exposure from the droppings, if they were my horses and I really cared for them the decision here which would go and which would stay would be real easy.

  11. I grew up on a farm and there were barn swallows around all the time, but they didn’t nest on the house. They are a big nuisance on a porch or near a door. I would prefer not to kill them as they do eat lots of unwanted insects, but I’ve not found a practical way to discourage them from unwanted areas.

  12. Exclusion is the only option – and potentially building a nest location nearby with an overhang to discourage them.

  13. Has anyone tried the liquid repellant? I have ordered it but thought I would ask. I look forward to spring and I love the birds in my yard. I love their songs and just watching them in general. What i don’t like is barn swallows dive bombing my family as we sit on our porch. They only started doing that in the last 2 years. I don’t know what changed. I will let you k ow if tbe repellent I bought works. Last year I used strip foil on my door and had no birds but this year it didn’t work.

  14. Kathy & Anthony need to become realistic, .As if COVID-19 isn’t bad enough, they are a health hazard around humans. Especially to my grandkids and me and my asthma. If they won’t stay away here they’re gonna be Worm bait

  15. I heard they don’t like smells
    We are going to pressure wash again tomorrow and then spray the house eves with vinegar.

  16. In the last 4 days, they have become a huge pain in my BUTT. They are trying to build a nest on top of our front door camera and I have hoed it down twice now and they are not happy. I woke up this am to massive amounts of poop all over my door and house. They have to go!!!!!

  17. Anthony, I would prefer to live with them as I think they beautiful and it seems most of us are looking for a way that will cause them to move on and not come back, not kill them. We also have a vast population of Purple Martins which also eat 1,000s of mosquitos a day. My problem is is that they are really aggressive when they have chicks and I need to take my trash and recyclables out to my dumpster. It’s only a few steps off my porch but they have come to know the sound of my door opening (like Pavlov’s dog) and begin swooping me. Currently, I won’t even let my grandkids take out the trash or recyclables because I don’t want them have a fear of birds later.
    Also, the older folks who have a problem with them in their barn IS a problem especially if the birds hit them on their head or body as they are being swooped. It could cause them to fall and hurt themselves further. Are they to be denied the ability to care for their other animals for fear of getting hurt? Is that being human-centric? Is having to live with their diseased poop on our porches and barns being selfish?
    I think we would love to all live in harmony. Maybe you can teach the birds how to do that.

  18. Several years ago I read in a bird magazine to run a bead of Lemon Joy dish detergent on the surface you want to protect. It seemed silly, but I did it and it worked. Sometimes I have used a spray bottle with diluted Lemon Joy, also, when the surface is hard to reach. They don’t like it! I have also used store brands of lemon-scented detergent. It’s a simple fix. Try it. I used the concentrated version! I don’t know if it is because it is sticky, or the smell!

  19. For those of you who think that people suggesting ways to deter barn owls from nesting in specific areas, I would like you to consider that some of these situations are in fact dangerous for the barn owls themselves. We live in a condominium in the middle of downtown. They are trying to build Nest around electrical components. This is dangerous for them and for the people that live in the Condominiums. Not to mention the fact that they are pooping all over my front door and patio so I cannot even walk into my condominium anymore without tracking stuff in unless I am cleaning it daily.

    The best place for wild animals is to be in the wild, not next to electrical wiring.

  20. I love my barn birds but they are taking over my wrap around porch. I started with two nest one on the front and one in the back. I know have 7 that range from the porch to over windows and house vents! I have small grandchildren who love to go barefoot I can’t keep up all the poop so I have to do something. I’m going to wait till all birds are hatched and then I will begin tearing down nests and cleaning hoping this will deter them!!

  21. My husband loves to watch the swallows and their interesting life they live. BUT we have a carport that is 16 feet high and they build their nest every year there where we can’t bother them. We are 80 years old and we don’t need all this poop all over our car and carport and also we can’t climb any ladders a this age to clean up the empty next. We don’t need the exposure to disease and I am beginning to hate the birds. They just have to go, the gang left the next the other day while we were not here and since then a gang of them keep looking everywhere under our carport to find them. I am calling a professional tomorrow, we have no choice. They are PESTS!

    • WE purchased a large home with a wrap around porch last year. The house had no less than 20 barn swallow nests built on it. First I power washed the exterior to rid all the nest. This spring when the birds started arriving I did 2 things. First I put roach glue pads down in the corner ledges where they started roosting at night. Secondly I poured a stream of ” Lemon scented Joy” dishwashing soap all along the ledge. Problem solved.

  22. We have a nest on our porch on top of the shutter. The eggs have hatched we see the babies sitting on the edge. How long before they fly away?

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