Do mothballs or ammonia help repel birds?

Most of us appreciate birds living in nature. They help keep our yards free of bugs, like fleas, ants, and mosquitoes. Many have colorful plumage and sing lilting songs. Usually their nesting habits don't interfere with their human neighbors, but there are times when birds take up residence in or near your home and begin to cause problems. Bird Droppings (feces) can make an unsightly mess on the sides of buildings, sidewalks, or vehicles. Birds in your attic have nests noisy squawking young, and, can leave an unsightly mess and smell. They can also attract other pests, carry bugs, and spread diseases.

If you are plagued by a bird infestation, chances are, you are willing to try anything to get rid of them. Out of desperation, you might have even tried any number of the “guaranteed” contraptions on today's market “designed” to keep birds away. Unsurprisingly enough these modern day miracles didn't work, no matter how many flashing lights or high pitched emitters they have. After trying to run them off with these useless inventions, your good intentions get you nowhere. Now you have birds nesting in your attic or in your walls. The birds have moved in and are setting up housekeeping. Soon they will hatch a nest full of noisy young. Now, any number of your well meaning family, friends, and neighbors will come forward and offer their favorite home remedies as well. We have heard everything from hanging aluminum foil in strips to using blinking Christmas lights, to setting a sprinkler to constantly spray the nest with water. Some people suggest scattering hot pepper sauce, or cinnamon around your space. Other folks would have you throw firecrackers or rocks at the birds regularly. We have even heard the suggestion that you let a cat loose to run them off.

There also a number of “natural” repellents those home remedy specialists swear by. Two of the most tried household chemicals are moth balls and ammonia. They do not work, and Even more importantly, they are extremely dangerous! In the hands of the inexperienced, these chemicals can not only be dangerous, they can be deadly. When misused, the chemical agents can be hazardous to you, other animals, and the Earth.

Do mothballs get rid of birds like pigeons or sparrows? To realize the inherent dangers involved, you must first understand what you are dealing with when considering the use of these chemicals in a way NOT suggested by the manufacturer. Moth balls are a caustic mixture of poisonous chemicals, blended together for the purpose of killing bugs (moths). This pesticide most often contains the ingredients naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Both of these are hazardous chemicals that can become a toxic gas when exposed to air. This chemical reaction is enhanced if chemical become even slightly heated. When they revert to their gaseous form they become irritants to the eyes, lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. Either one of these chemicals can also cause symptoms such as extreme headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Prolonged exposure to either of the dangerous chemicals found in mothballs can also cause hemolytic anemia. This condition results in extreme damage or complete destruction of your red blood cells. Furthermore, there have been extensive studies conducted that show that either of these gases can alter DNA in children, cause birth defects, and cause cancer.

Ammonia, despite its pungent odor, has been a trusted household cleaning agent for many decades. It is an excellent cleaner, reliable laundry additive, and perfectly safe when used correctly. If used improperly, prolonged exposure to ammonia fumes in the air causes burning of the eyes, nose, and throat. It can turn to a deadly gas if it mixes with other chemicals like bleach. It has been found to cause severe irritation of upper and lower respiratory tract and can even result in more serious conditions including: blindness, damage to your lungs, irritation to soft skin and mucous membranes, birth defects, brain damage, difficulty breathing, or even death. These reactions have not only been seen in humans, but can affect other animals as well. These possible side effects are definitely too serious a risk to take just to be rid of a few birds. You don't want to use anything as deadly as these reactionary chemicals anywhere around your house or loved ones. Before resorting to an unsafe solution, to solve you bird problem, look at some more reliable alternatives.

Although prevention is the best pest solution, if you find yourself victim of a bird invasion, do yourself a favor and call a professional animal removal service. These skilled experts will identify your particular problem, and formulate a simple plan to be rid of the birds. They will assist in the removal of bodies or relocation of live birds. They will also give you tips to avoid a re-infestation. A licensed service will also have the proper credentials and know all local laws concerning the birds in your area. It is always better to go with a knowledgeable professional than to risk endangering yourself or your family just to save a few dollars.

Other thoughts on whethr ammonia and mothballs repel pigeons: You would have better luck with a noisy metal wind chime in your back yard than you would using mothballs or ammonia to try and repel pigeons. As someone who has been trying to get rid of pigeons for many years, I can tell you that if either ammonia or moth balls worked, I would be out of a job. Luckily for me (although unluckily for homeowners like you), I’m not. The wind chime can help by the way, but exclusion doors are the only way you’ll really get rid of these flappy nuisances. You need to get them to leave and then block their entrance, one way exclusion funnels often do the trick. They can enter your home in a variety of ways toolarge gaps around chimneys and where the roof meets your external walls, in and around vents, soffits, and other up-high spaces that you don’t normally get a good look at. The thing you need to remember is that these birds will go where we humans do not regularly go. That’s why they head for the atticit reminds them of their tree-roosts and you don’t go up there very often. Instead of wasting your time on heading to the store and buying either ammonia (dangerous) or mothballs (pointless), you should spend the time having a cheeky look around your home (properly) and making a list of things that you should probably get repaired.

Before you consider using mothballs or ammonia to repel nuisance birds, ask yourself this question: Are you happy to poison the birds? 

That is essentially what you are doing when you use mothballs or ammonia to repel birds or any other animal. Ammonia gases are toxic to both humans and animals, and so are the toxic gases used in mothball repellents. Some studies have even shown links between mothballs and cancer, particularly in children.

As well as being potentially very dangerous to all animals and humans, mothballs and ammonia-soaked rags (or other methods) don’t actually work that well. The toxic gases might remove the birds from one particular area, but it won’t remove them entirely from the property. If you’re unlucky, the birds might even be driven deeper and further into the recesses of your home that you can’t easily reach. 

Mothballs and ammonia don’t actually solve the nuisance bird problem, either. It doesn’t stop the birds from being able to enter the building, nor does it change the property so that it is less aesthetically pleasing to nuisance wildlife. As soon as you stop using your poisonous deterrents, the birds are free to come right back. They will likely come back as soon as the effect of the noxious gases wears off.