What Every Business Owner Needs To Know About Pest Bird Diseases

March 17, 2021

Home / The Orkin Blog / What Every Business Owner Needs To Know About Pest Bird Diseases

Pest birds like pigeons can often be overlooked, but it is important to know that besides being nuisance, these birds can also be a health risk to your customers and employees. From diseases associated with their droppings to parasites that use pest birds to hitch a ride. Here is what every business owner needs to know about the health risks associated with pest birds.

Common Pest Birds

Though businesses need to worry about a variety of pest birds, the most common species  any business may encounter are:

Health Risks Associated With Pest Birds And Their Droppings

Food & Water Contaminated with Bird Feces

The most obvious transmission of bird related diseases is through ingestion of contaminated food or water. This happens when a diseased bird defecates directly into a human food, water source or food handling surfaces and utensils. Besides direct contamination, airborne particles or fragments from drying feces in air ducts and vents can settle on exposed food, food prep surfaces or in utensils and can be transmitted to humans.

Inhalation of Fecal Dust from Bird Droppings

As bird droppings and/or the contaminated soil it rests on, dries and is disturbed, microscopic pieces break off and become airborne. These airborne particles can contain dormant fungi spores and/or bacteria. When breathed into the lungs, the warm, moist environment of the lung lining provides an optimal breeding area for infectious agents.

Direct Contact with Bird Droppings

Direct contact infections can occur when a worker or resident gets fecal dust or droppings in the mouth, nostrils, eyes or an open wound or cut. This can occur when working in an environment where birds roost or gather in large flocks. Possible examples of direct contact situations can include employees associated with HVAC cleaning, roofing, outdoor activities/services, etc. 

In order to prevent direct contact infections from exposed droppings, proper personal protection equipment (PPE) must always be used. This is especially the case when working in an area with a heavy pest bird presence.

Slip & Fall Risks

The hazardous nature of bird droppings aren’t just limited to points mentioned above, as the droppings can also be a hazard for those walking on sidewalks. This is because bird droppings on sidewalks, walkways, on steps or even in fire escape routes can pose major fall risks because the droppings tend to be slippery when fresh.

Ectoparasites Associated with Birds

Pest birds harbour ectoparasites like swallow bugs, ticks, fleas, mites and lice. These parasites are not only a biting nuisance, but can also transmit disease pathogens to humans, pets and livestock. In order to transmit the pathogen the parasite does the following:

  1. The parasite bites an infected animal and sucks in blood containing the germ.
  2. The germ then multiplies in the bug and when the infected bug bites its next victim it passes along the germ to the new victim. This occurs because parasites inject some of their germ-loaded saliva into the host when feeding. Over forty types of parasites live either on the birds, in their nests or in the places they roost.

Common Types Of Pest Bird Diseases


  • St. Louis Encephalitis (Most Serious Risk)
  • Western Equine Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • New Castle’s Disease
  • H1N1 / Bird Flu


  • Chlamydiosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Paratyphoid
  • Vibriosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Pasteurellosis
  • E. coli


  • Histoplasmosis
  • Cryptococcus
  • Candidiasis
  • Sarcosporidiosis
  • Blastomycosis


If you have concerns about pest birds impacting your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Orkin Canada’s team of bird control specialists are well trained and equipped to effectively identify and manage any pest bird issue. Contact your local Orkin Canada branch today!

Find your local branch

National coverage, local expertise. With over 30 branches across Canada, our neighbourhood technicians have an in-depth knowledge of your local area, anywhere in the country.

Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on March 12 2021.

You may also like

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Did you know there are over 260 different species of stink bugs in North America? Like any insect, these can find their way indoors from time to time. While most of us aren’t appreciative of any insects in our home, stink bugs can be a nuisance, especially if they choose to visit your home in large numbers.

Top 5 Facts You Need To Know About Mosquitoes

As the weather warms up and mosquitoes start becoming more active, you can expect to see these little blood suckers on your property. As mosquitoes are best known for their itchy bites and ability to spread disease, it is important to get the facts about mosquitoes. Here are the top 5 facts you need to know about mosquitoes.

Understanding The Impact Of Pest Birds On Your Business

Pest birds invading your commercial property are not only a nuisance, but can also put your business/commercial property, customers and employees at risk. Whether it is potential health risks and hazards that can be associated with bird droppings or liability risks that can lead to legal actions, pest birds can be nothing but trouble. Here are some of the issues that pest birds can bring to your business.

What You Need To Know About Rodents During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been immediate, and long lasting, with businesses having to adjust the way operations take place. While for you and I the impact has been quite easy to see; from wearing masks and carrying sanitizer wherever you go to avoiding contact with others. The one aspect that often is overlooked is the impact the pandemic has had on rodents, as these pesky pests are having to adapt like everyone else

Remove pests from your business, and stop them from coming back

We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation consultation today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

Request a Free Business Consultation
Request a Free Home Estimate