SpeedPro Barriers

Bird & Bee Specialist - Powerwashing - Gutters - Home Improvements

SpeedPro Barriers

(Swift Bird Louse - Pigeon Louse)

Families Ricinidae, Philopteridae
Bird Lice 


Size: Varies depending on species; usually 1/8-inch or smaller in size.

Color: Depending on the species, the color varies from tan to brown to creamy white.


A number of species of lice infest various types of birds. The above mentioned is only one species but there are many.

On farms, lice that infect poultry are known to sometimes become a problem in barns, and they can bite humans who work with the birds. More commonly in homes and commercial buildings, lice that infest pest birds, such as pigeons and sparrows, may find their way into living the spaces of homes. Although such lice are incapable of living off a human host, they have reportedly bitten people in a few, rare cases.

Usually, one or more specimens are discovered on a windowsill, on the floor, or possibly on a desk or table where they have exited the ceiling or wall and have dropped to die. Generally, such cases result from birds nesting in the attic, walls or on the outside edge of the building roof.


Like all lice, bird lice must remain on or very close to their hosts to survive and therefore are considered parasites. As a result, they can be found in association with bird nests located on or within a building.

Tips for Control:

To control bird lice, the bird activity inside or on the building must be eliminated or prevented and all nest materials removed. SpeedPro Barriers are the perfect solution, specializing in preventing unwanted bird nesting problems.



Five to ten million people in the U.S. are severely allergic to flying insect stings, including bees and wasps.  Having been sensitized by an initial sting, if stung again these individuals may experience anaphylactic shock, characterized by a feeling of anxiety, sudden fall in blood pressure, difficulty in breathing and localized swelling of body tissues.

Although only approximately 50 deaths per year have been directly attributed to bee and wasp sting allergies, recent studies at the Department of Medicine, Case Western University suggest a very much higher number.  Laboratory analysis of blood taken from patients who had died of sudden cardiac arrest showed that 23% had evidence of bee or wasp tryptase and IgE.   This points to a bee or wasp sting as the probable cause of death in these individuals, and, if this is representative of the general population, shows that the risk of anaphylaxis with a fatal outcome is much greater than had been supposed.

Currently, there is no effective protection and the only safeguard for individuals who know they are allergic to stings is to carry an adrenalin injection kit with them at all times.  Further, desensitization therapy is often ineffective for curing this type of allergy because the patients cannot be given a sufficient amount of venom to begin the desensitization process. Always keep an updated pack of Benedryl on hand and call 911 if there is any question about your condition should you get stung.

The migration of Africanized “Killer” bees across the U.S. has increased the general population’s fear of bee attacks.  Even non-allergic individuals may experience severe allergic reactions from being attacked by Killer bees due to the multiple stings and volume of venom injected.  Killer bees have been credited with over 1,000 deaths in North America since they began expanding their territory north from Brazil. In addition, the massive amount of bee venom received from these attacks can cause end-organ damage, such as in the liver and kidneys, for the survivors.  Recently, Killer bees were named one of the most deadly of creatures in a Discovery Channel feature report.

Africanized bees attack people and animals who unwarily stray into the territory they defend around their nests. Many serious stinging incidents have resulted in life-threatening injury and death.

Though their venom is no more potent than that of our native European honeybee, Africanized bees respond in greater numbers and pursue intruders for greater distances. Also, disturbed colonies may remain agitated for as long as 24 hours, attacking perceived threats up to a quarter mile from the hive. Any person or animal in the patrolled area is vulnerable. THE NEST, ITSELF, NEED NOT BE DISTURBED. Africanized bees may respond aggressively to everyday occurrences such as vibrations generated by passing vehicles, power equipment, and even foot traffic.

When disturbed, individual bees emit iso-pentyl acetate, which is a bee "alarm" pheromone. High concentrations of this pheromone are deposited with the stinger at the sting site that acts as an airborne chemical beacon to other bees, who "pile on" in ever increasing numbers. If stung by one of these bees during and attack- the sent from the sting is now traceable and alerts others bees to sting the intruder.

It is widely accepted that 500 or more stings can be life threatening to an adult.  In fact, 150 stings are roughly equivalent to one rattlesnake bite.  Victims of recently recorded attacks have received as many as 1,000 stings.

Article supplied by: ATOPIX




Some of these flying insects look like bees but really aren't. They are flies.  Commonly called - BeeFlys.

Here is a great link to the Resource for Entomology Collections regarding the BeeFly.  They may not carry a stinger, but they can bite. : http://www.ento.okstate.edu/4H-FFA/Diptera.htm

Wasp and Hornet Attacks

Have you ever been working in your garden and suddenly been struck (hit) by a flying bee?

Typically, these are wasp or hornets basically telling you to stay away. They are also marking you with a scent. Yellow Jackets and Mud Daubers aren't so nice to give warning.

If this happens to you, get out of the area immediately and wash the area well.  Otherwise, they might attack if you return or linger in the area. Wasp and hornets (unlike honey bees) can sting multiple times.

If you are stung by a honey bee, don't grasp the stinger and try to pull it out. There is a bulb at the end of the stinger that you might squeeze, releasing the bees venom.  Instead, try using some sort of edge (ie. fingernail or blunt pocket knife edge...) and SCRAPE the stinger from the injection site.  This prevents the bulb from being squeezed and injecting more venom into you as what would happen if your responded by grabbing the stinger. 


Did you know that there are thousands of Bats in Petaluma and it's surrounding areas?  Bats are nocturnal creatures giving off a high pitched squeal as they go into night flight. Bats use ultrasonic sounds for guidance and hunting. Bats are good for us in that they are Big insect eaters. The female bat has mammary glands and actually nurse their babies (Pups) like little children. Bats are fearful because they transmit Rabies.

 Guano, Urine, Odor, and Ectoparasites

Bat guano (Bat feces) and urine accumulating in attics and wall spaces attract arthropods such as roaches and mites (Constantine 1970). The accompanying odor can be pungent but not dangerous. Bat ectoparasites, such as ticks, mites, fleas, and bugs, rarely attack humans (Scott 1963). They are most likely to cause a nuisance after a house has been bat proofed, thereby ridding the edifice of bats but leaving arthropods. Arthropod problems are unlikely except in large, well-established bat colonies where fumigation may be appropriate (Pratt 1958). Ectoparasites quickly die in the absence of bats.

1st step is finding the bat entry site by checking air flow in the attic spaces. Because bats can crawl through narrow slits and apertures, these inconspicuous openings must be located and sealed for effective bat exclusion.

In very old frame houses with clapboard sidings, one should look for openings under overhangs where wood may have warped, shrunk, or decayed, leaving small, frequently obscure, spaces and holes suitable for bat entrances. Other bat accesses and heat loss openings are loose vents, cracks under loose flashing, eaves, cornices, louvers, where roof joins building, under corrugated roofing, spaces under doors and around windows, and openings where electrical wiring, outlet boxes, and water pipes enter the house

Bats should be out of the building before bat proofing begins. The best time for bat proofing is in the fall after the young bats have learned to fly and before the advent of cold weather. The time of day is also important so that holes can be blocked in the early evening after the bats have departed to feed. Most bats start to leave a building about 15 min after sunset; however, some species of bats leave their roosts later than others, some when it is dark.

SpeedPro barriers have devised an way to allow the existing live bats to leave but not be able to return.  The device can be left in position for prolonged periods to permit lethargic or hibernating bats to awaken and leave.

Bat work should not be used from 1 May through August, when young, flightless bats may be in the roost.

Returning bats may cluster or flounder outside the protected entrance for some time but will concede and leave to find another home.

The house should be watched for several evenings at dusk (and later, if necessary) to make certain that bats have not found an overlooked access. Church Steeples


Bat proofing of church steeples is difficult and dangerous because the inside of the steeple is often covered with numerous spikes from the roof covering. Temporary Outside Roosts


Sometimes bats will temporarily roost in open structures such as porches, garages, and patios or behind shutters, shingles, roof gutters, and trim with overhang. Transient bats in migration, male bats during the nursing season, and foraging bats hanging up at night to rest may find these outside areas attractive and convenient. If bats roost under the eaves of buildings or on other areas outside the house, actual control may not be necessary unless their droppings become a problem.

Bat Management Legislation




A survey of Federal legislative actions, court decisions, and agency interpretations concerning the management of bats was published in "Bat management in the United States" (Lera and Fortune 1978); the agencies having primary responsibilities for bat management decisions are the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services (formerly the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare). It is apparent that lethal control of bats, even when there is a proven potential danger to humans, is subjected to careful scrutiny, preparation, and interagency coordination.

The United States Department of the Interior is the Nation's principal conservation agency. The FWS has broad responsibilities for wildlife conservation as mandated in various Executive orders, laws, and treaties. It has direct responsibility for bat research, protection, and management under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1956 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Because FWS policy prohibits the use of DDT and recommends against the use of anticoagulants or other chemicals that may present a threat to human health or the environment, the major management recommendation is exclusion of bats (bat proofing). The only acceptable way that the FWS can manage bats in buildings and carry out its responsibilities of bat protection and conservation is to exclude unwanted bats by nonlethal methods. Bat management techniques should be selective for the offending bats, nonhazardous to human beings, and environmentally safe.

This bat information sheet was assembled with the help of SpeedPro Barriers in cooperation with the North Prairie Wildlife Research Center in order to educate the public.


TOP 3 MOST WANTED (to get rid of) LIST


Number 1 Pest Bird

Feral pigeons are descendants of the rock dove of Europe, Asia and Africa. The pigeon was first brought to this country as a domestic bird in 1606 and is now found in the wild state in virtually every city. The pigeon problems began right away and hence bird control became necessary in the infancy of our new country.

Pigeons take on the status as a pest when they conflict with human activities or present health problems. All kinds of bird repellent products are on the market today. These pages will address most, if not all the bird control devices available.

Pigeons are not migratory. Their natural instinct is to stay near their birth site. This trait gives the pigeon a very determined personality when it comes to roosting at a particular site and this is where the pigeon problems start. The daily cycle of a pigeon is to roost at night, feed in the morning and loaf in the afternoon. The seasonal cycle is as follows; courtship in the early winter, nest building in late winter and breeding in the spring. However, in warm climates, breeding will occur year round. Our bird repellent products will stop the loafing and roosting activity.

Pigeon droppings deface and accelerate deterioration of statues, buildings and equipment and foul areas where people may walk or work. Their short legs with the level front and hind toes allow them to perch on branches as well as walk on flat surfaces.

Pigeon droppings and nests clog drain pipes and air intakes, mar window sills and make fire escapes dangerous. The droppings and feathers can contaminate large quantities of livestock feed and food destined for human consumption. This unhealthy activity requires quick bird control measures.

Pigeons are known to carry or transmit pigeon ornithosis, encephalitis, Newcastle disease, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, pseudo-tuberculosis, pigeon coccidiosis and salmonella food poisoning. Pigeon parasites include a number of bugs, fleas, ticks and mites, many of which bite people.

Pigeons are monogamous, mating for life. Wild pigeons can live for 15 years or longer, while pigeons in an urban environment seldom live more than three to four years.

The pigeon diet consists of seeds, grains, some fruit, and green feed. They also feed on garbage, livestock manure, insects and a wide range of other foods.

When bird control has become a must do chore. Do not wait, the longer you wait the more devoted the pigeon becomes to this roosting site. Combining different types of products increases your chances for successfully moving the birds to another area.


Number 2 Pest Bird

The House sparrow is the number two urban pest birds.. They nest in urban structures, eat scraps and have a large breeding capacity is some of their traits. Their legs and toes are favored for branch perching and their short conical bills are ideal for seed cracking. Their diet consists of seeds and grain, as well as fruits, vegetables, human table scraps and insects. They are intelligent birds who roost in noisy flocks on branches of trees and bushes, ivy covered walls, under eaves of houses, attic vents and commercial signs.

Damage House Sparrows are often a nuisance in urban areas like manufacturing and food processing plants. Gutters and drainage pipes clogged with sparrow nests can backup and cause extensive water damage and fires have been attributed to electrical shorts caused by machinery housing sparrow nests. Lastly, feces buildup can lead to structural damage from the uric acid in droppings, plus the bacteria, fungal agents and parasites in the feces also pose a health risk.

Cycles House Sparrows are not migratory, but in cold climates can show movement between rural/suburban breeding sites and warmer winter roosting sites in the city. House Sparrows are aggressive birds and will often force out other birds from their territories. They are flocking birds and will gather in the thousands to take over feeding and roosting areas.

(Again, Federal Law protects these birds..)

STARLINGS (Little Black Birds)

Number 3 Pest Bird

The starling was introduced from Europe in the 19th century. Starlings are well adapted to urban life which offer it an abundance of food and nesting sites. This is a strong bird about eight inches long with long wings and a short squared tail. Starlings are very aggressive and will drive native birds out of their territory. Starlings are well known for their large flocks, creating a nuisance when roosting in populated areas.

Damage Starlings rank just behind pigeons and sparrows as an urban bird pest. Starlings can be a nuisance in both urban and rural areas due to their nesting, eating and living habits. When the bird is in its flocking phase, thousands of starlings often overwhelm buildings and trees. Large scale buildup of feces from these flocks can lead to structural damage. The uric acid in the feces can corrode stone, metal and masonry. Gutters and drainage pipes clogged with starling nests often backup, causing extensive water damage. The bacteria, fungal agents and parasites in the feces also pose a health risk.

Bird Swallows - Information

Protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703B711); these birds cannot be molested or removed when their bird nest have been established or are actively being used.

The most common Northern California Swallow are:

Bank Swallows, Barn Swallows and/or Mud Swallows

Breeding Habits:

Usually initiate a single breeding attempt in March - April. They lay clutches of one to nine eggs (usually four to five) and incubate them for 13––16 days. The young hatch in May and are fledged by July (to as late as August) each year; there is no information on lifetime reproductive success (Garrison 1999).

Movement and Migratory Patterns

Bank Swallows migrate annually to South America. The first spring migrants arrive in California in mid- March with numbers peaking in May; the first fall migrants leave in late July, with a few birds remaining until mid-September (Humphrey and Garrison 1987; Garrison 1999; Garrison 2002).

Mud and Barn Swallows can be seldom seen year round in specified areas of Sonoma nearly year round. Breeding habits slow during the cooler months of Fall and Winter but as the weather patterns change throughout the year, so do these breeding habits.

Site Selection:

Before building begins, Mud Swallows choose a site with a protective overhang and a nearby mud source. Each mud nest is made up of about one thousand small mud beads or pellets. The nest is typically constructed from the bottom up and the entrance has a bottle nose appearance (typically lined with feathers or hey.

Barn swallow nests are cup-shaped rather than gourd-shaped, and the mud pellets contain coarse organic matter such as grass stems, horse hairs, and feathers. The nest cup is profusely lined with grasses and feathers, especially white feathers. Barn swallow nests are also typically built under eaves or similarly protected sites but not necessarily at the highest point possible. Barn swallows often use a beam or the protruding edge of a door or window jamb as the base for the nest, or attach the nest at the juncture of the two walls of an interior corner.

Swallows have a homing tendency toward previous nesting sites. Under suitable conditions, a nest is quite durable and may be used in successive years. Resident adults are the first to return, followed by adults who bred at other colonies, and by young swallows who have not yet bred.

Habitat Infestations:

Swallow nests are inhabited by hematophagous (bloodsucking) insects and mites. Swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius), can spread rapidly by crawling from nests to nests in a new colony or by clinging to the feathers of adults. Infestations of swallow bugs and mites reduce nestling growth rates and cause up to half of all nestling deaths. Swallow bugs are able to survive in unoccupied nests for up to 3 years without feeding and await returning swallows in the spring.

Social Behavior:

Among cliff swallows, mud gathering and nest construction are social activities; even unmated swallows will start nests. Mated swallows may build more than one nest per season, even though not all will be used. A count of nests under construction will not give an accurate estimate of the number of breeding swallows.



Both sexes incubate the eggs. Incubation begins before the last egg is laid and ranges from 12 to 16 days for cliff swallows and 13 to 17 days for barn and mud swallows. Most studies report incubation of 14 or 15 days. Whitewash on the ground below the nest or on the rim of the nest entrance is a sign of newly hatched nestlings inside the nest. This marking occurs when adults remove fecal sacs from the nest and later when nestlings defecate from the nest.

Fledging and Post nesting Period

In general, swallows fledge in 17 to 24 days. The juvenile swallows appear similar to adults but are dull colored and have less sharply-defined color patterns. The fledglings return to the nest each day for 2 to several days to be fed before leaving it permanently. Within a week, juveniles will join flocks and leave the area.

Late nests may result from re nesting attempts after a first failure, or from late nesters. The time from start of nest building to departure is 44 to 64 days: 7 to 14 days nest building, 3 to 6 days egg laying, 12 to 16 days incubation, 20 to 25 days to fledging, and 2 or 3 days to leave the nest. Reports of colony occupancy ranging from 110 to 132 days indicate ample time for 2 broods.

After leaving the nest, swallows may remain in the general area for several weeks. By late summer there is a general movement, and by the end of September few swallows remain in the nest site. Fall migration of swallows is not well documented.


Many swallow colonies on buildings and other structures are innocuous. In some situations, however, they can become a major nuisance, primarily because of droppings they deposit. In such instances they may create aesthetic problems, foul machinery, and cause health hazards by contaminating foodstuffs. Their mud nests eventually fall to the ground and can cause similar problems. Parasites found in swallow nests, including swallow bugs, fleas, ticks, and mites, may bite humans and domestic animals, although these are not the usual hosts. In addition, swallow nests are often used by sparrows, introducing another avian pest and its attendant damage problems and potential health hazards.