Noisy, messy, destructive and incredibly persistent, pest birds such as sparrows, pigeons and gulls are known to wreak havoc on crops and buildings when roosting or foraging for food.
What is bird netting?
Most people favor bird netting over other forms of deterrent, as it offers a humane way to protect crops, fruit trees, commercial properties, boats, aquatic animals, chickens and vineyards from all types of birds and other pests including bats, racoons and squirrels.
The best bird netting available to buy
We look at the pros and cons for using bird netting, explain the most effective ways to use it and review the best bird netting available to buy:
- Wilson Bird Netting – best for avid gardeners
- Anti-Bird Netting – best for protecting poultry
- De-Bird Netting – best for easy installation
- Aviary Netting – best for multi-usage
When to use bird netting
There’s no place like home, but without any form of bird control you may just find that you are sharing your property with pests. From your eaves to your guttering to your restaurant roof or factory floor; it is important that you deter pest birds for good.
Not only are bird droppings unsightly but they can be hazardous and cause health risks too. Some bird droppings are corrosive and can eat away at the cement, defacing the look of a building. And when it comes to agricultural land, farmers often have a fight on their hands in protecting their produce from persistent pecking birds.
Is bird netting effective?
Bird netting is the only form of bird control that places a physical barrier between the pest bird and its desired location. This makes it a highly effective solution for safeguarding large surface areas within high pressure places, where pest birds are reluctant to leave.
Like most pest deterrents, however, the overall effectiveness of your bird netting is dependent on the way in which it is affixed and how well it is maintained for future use.
The benefits of using bird netting
The main benefit of using netting is that it can safely control the population of problem birds without harming other birds in the process. On top of this, bird netting is:
- Versatile. Bird netting can be placed almost anyway. It can be used to cover large spaces such as car parks but can be as equally effective for protecting small crops and shrubbery such as blackberries. It can also be installed in sensitive locations such as airports or hospitals.
- Durable. A single bird net, if maintained correctly, can last as long as ten years. This makes it a cost-effective method of bird control.
- Variable. Not only do bird control nets come in a variety of different colors in order to blend in with their surroundings, they are designed with different sized holes, depending on the species you are trying to prevent.
The disadvantages to using bird netting
Although bird netting is one of the best methods of bird control, there are some drawbacks that should be considered before purchasing such as:
- Unintentional trapping. Bird netting is regarded as a safe method of deterring birds from buildings, however, on occasion a bird may get tangled in loose netting or get stuck in a tear or a hole. For this reason, bird netting should be closely monitored.
- Installation and removal. It is vital that bird netting has sufficient clearance between the net and the surface, to prevent pest birds from overwhelming it. Pulled too tight and the net can rip over time, yet hang it too loose, and there’s always a chance that birds may break in. It is for this reason, that we would recommend calling in bird netting professionals to fix your bird netting for you.
- Planning permission – It is rare that permission will be needed to erect a bird control net – especially if it is over your own property. If in doubt, however, you should check with your local authority – especially if the building is listed or if the netting is likely to alter the building’s appearance.
What is bird netting made of?
Most bird control nets tend to be made from either polyethylene or polypropylene material as they need to be strong enough to survive all types of weather, stable enough to stay put in strong winds and be silent enough to be tolerated by those within earshot.
Most commercial bird control nets are also UV treated to protect them from harsh sunlight and most come flame retardant as standard.
As these nets remain outside year-round, they are subjected to a host of different climates. For this reason, the straining wires, fixtures and fittings are generally made of stainless steel to prevent them from rusting.
The net holes themselves are selected depending on the size of the bird you want to prevent. In order to be cost effective, we would recommend using the largest possible mesh size, depending on the species of bird you are targeting.
Larger mesh nets tend to be hardier and less visible. The general rule of thumb for bird netting holes tend to be: 75mm for seagulls, 50mm for pigeons, 28mm for starlings and 19mm for sparrows. When proofing against more than one type of bird, we recommend that you select the smallest species mesh size.
How to install bird netting correctly
Although bird netting may seem like an easy D-I-Y solution, it is often time-consuming and complex, especially if you are joining multiple nets together. Depending on the size of the surface you are looking to cover, we would recommend employing a professional bird netting service to ensure that the job is completed safely. If you are looking to install bird netting yourself, always read the manufacturer’s instructions before starting.
Although bird netting can be placed at any time of the year, we would recommend that you start affixing them in spring or early summer. This way you are more likely to incur clement weather as strong winds and rain will only make the process harder. Also, by fitting your bird nets earlier in the year will prevent birds such as pigeons from taking up residency to roost and before fruits start to ripen.
Once you have installed your bird netting, you need to make sure that you continue to monitor and maintain it as poorly looked after bird netting can lead to bigger problems. Tatty bird control nets can result in birds breaking in or even getting tangled and hurt. Therefore, we would advise that you get your bird netting checked annually, ideally before nesting season begin.
It is important to remember that installing and maintaining bird netting correctly will ensure that it is effective for many years to come.
How to use bird netting in your garden
Birds and other pests can be a real nuisance for those who want to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and enjoy what they have grown.
Generally, birds and other pests such as rats and squirrels won’t be interested in your wares until they start to ripen. Therefore, the best time to put up your bird netting around orchards and shrubs, is after pollination has occurred and whilst your fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes have yet to flourish
For fruit trees, you need to measure the circumference of the tree itself. The netting should then be cut by an extra foot so that it can be draped from top to trunk. Finally, you should wrap and twist the ends of the netting around at the bottom of the tree and secure it by using zip ties or twine.
Vegetable gardens can also be protected by placing bird netting over individual plants or the entire garden plot. Berry bushes, such as blackberries, raspberries and strawberries should have netting suspended over the entire bush or vine by at least 6 inches taller that the highest bush. The idea is to suspend it tall enough so that the birds cannot sit on the mesh and peck at the fruit beneath.
If you are installing bird netting over your garden crops or agricultural yields, then you must ensure that you can still have easy access in order to harvest.
Will bird netting keep squirrels out?
Squirrels and chipmunks can often thrive in gardens and fields thanks to the plentiful supply of food they find growing, causing endless frustration to farmers.
Bird netting can be an effective solution to preventing squirrels from attacking your crops, but this is often only ever short-term. Like any pest they will initially be deterred by something that is difficult to navigate, however, squirrels are smart (not to mention determined), and it won’t be long before they make their own holes in your bird netting.
What is deer netting?
Deer netting is used to stop shrubs or perennials from being eaten. As deer also carry ticks which are deadly to pets and cause seriously illnesses to humans, repellents such as specific deer netting offer a simple solution to keeping deer away.
Deer netting needs to be tall, as these spritely animals can effortlessly jump over 8 feet high. That said a group of deer are more likely to spring over something when they know what is waiting for them on the other side. For this reason, we would recommend installing a solid deer fence rather than any form of netting, that prevents them from seeing the other side. If used incorrectly, netting could cause a deer to become tangled and trapped.
That said, netting can work well when wrapped directly around bushes and trees to prevent ripened fruit and vegetables from being pilfered by a group of deer.
Can pollinators get through bird netting?
Generally, due to the size of the holes used for bird netting, bees and other pollinating insects are still able to access the protected plants even when pest birds can’t.
Smaller netting, however, which is specifically used to guard against extreme weather conditions and plant eating bugs often hinder the pollinating process. Therefore, if you are using this specific type of netting then we would recommend installing it before pollination begins to stop honeybees from becoming entangled. We would also suggest planting other sweet-scented flowers around your garden to give the bees plenty of other places to go.
What is the best bird netting to use?
#1 Wilson Bird Netting
Recommended for avid gardeners
The Wilson heavy duty, high grade netting is made up of several strands all knitted together. This makes it extremely snag proof when resting on your shrubs and for safeguarding your fruit and berries from pesky bird beaks.
The Wilson bird netting is incredibly flexible and although it comes prepackaged in three different sizes, it can be cut to measure any size plot required.
This bird netting also comes with an extended UV life that is guaranteed to last several seasons if stored and maintained properly.
#2 Anti-Bird Netting
Recommended for protecting poultry
This bird netting is made of multi-strand nylon, is very light-weight and comes with a UV resistant coating. Although it is great for protecting poultry it can used for covering crops, as it blocks access from birds, whilst allowing light and moisture through.
This bird netting is stronger than a lot of others available on the market and offers good protection against larger animals too.
#3 De-Bird Garden Netting
Recommended for easy installation
This bird netting offers maximum protection against feathery foes and the four-legged variety and is simple and easy to install. This large piece of net can be cut to size, without fraying, and is strong enough to be snag resistant when placed over prickly shrubs.
Made from polypropylene, this de-bird garden netting is UV and rot resistant, making it tough enough to withstand the effects of strong sunlight and bad weather conditions.
#4 Aviary Netting
Recommended for multi-usage
This heavy-duty bird netting is so versatile that it can be used to protect poultry, gardens and even commercial buildings. Black in color, this bird netting is made of polyethylene and is UV inhibited and can withstand temperatures of between -10F to +150F.
Although slightly more expensive than some other brands, this aviary netting is super strong, and if well maintained can last for up to 10 years, making it a cost-effective bird proofing solution.
Bird netting is a simple solution that offers a humane way of preventing nuisance birds and other pest animals destroying crops and commercial properties. Built to last for many years, most bird netting is made from strong and durable materials making them a cost-effective option in comparison to other deterrents such as ultrasonic devices, sprung wires or bird spikes.
If you only have a small area in which to cover then D-I-Y products are more than capable of offering a solid solution. If, however, you are looking to protect a larger surface area or commercial property, then professional installation may be required using rope access methods, scaffolding or cherry pickers.