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monicakm1

Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

monicakm_gw
13 years ago

on my porch eaves. I asked this innocent question last year and was flogged for preferring to keep my porch clean of muddy nests and bird poop. I enjoy birds. I just don't enjoy the mess they make of my porch. Nests are breeding grounds for ticks, mites, fleas and bacteria. Histoplasmosis is an incurable disease that can result from contact with bird feces. And I want that on my front porch WHY?? :o Anyway,there were several people (most contacted me privately) that were sympathetic to my plight and hoped I found a solution. For those people, it looks like I've found a solution :) Even tho I tried the rubber snake route years ago (and it didn't work), I tried again. Looked out my window a couple weeks ago just in time to see a swallow landing in the same corner they've been coming to for years. Rubber snakes aren't fooling them! (lol) Then it hit me. I have some soft rubbery "netting" (for lack of a better word) that is used under rugs to keep them from slipping on hard surfaces. I hung a piece on two small nails, covering the corner. So far, no birds! I'll only have to have it up during nesting season. For the few that were also wishing they could find a solution, here's a picture.

Monica

{{!gwi}}

Comments (114)

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    You're SO welcome! Another success story :) I'd go pitch this to the Shark Tank but Mr "Wonderful" would ask me what would keep others from crushing me like the cockroach that I am, and I'd cry :(


  • Ang M
    8 years ago

    Monica, I too have a problem with the swallows building a nest (trying to build one) on top of the floodlights on the house. They had a nest two years ago and I took it down after they left and they hadn't tried to build one until now. I wouldn't have a problem with it except; a. they're messy and b. they would dive bomb us! One day they were so angry that we couldn't get off the porch. I had to run to the car with a tennis racket above my head! I can't have my mother getting startled and falling. They are cute, and I'm a bird lover,BUT, I really need to stop them from building that nest. Do you know if there's something humane I could spray on and around the lights that they wouldn't like? I'm not sure how I could use the netting over the floodlights so any suggestions on that too, let me know. Thank you.

    Ang M.

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  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Ang M, I'm sorry, I have no idea what else to use. Before I came up with the netting idea, I saw "spikes" that were used to keep birds from nesting but that wouldn't work for your application. Looking at my flood lights on the side of the house, I wonder if attaching the netting to the house, above the lights, and letting it drape just to the top or maybe an inch past the top of the lights would work? Wish I could have helped more. Good luck!


  • Ang M
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks Monica, I will try that if I can find it. Looking for it now... is this it?


  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I don't see the attachment but if you'll scroll up this page a bit you'll see a picture of the netting in the corner of my front porch. Click on it and it will enlarge. I find the netting
    with the rugs at Walmart.


  • Ang M
    8 years ago

    Oh goodness, I didn't realize the picture didn't go through. I uploaded it again so maybe that worked but, yes I scrolled up and enlarged your pic. I can see it now,.. will go to Walmart and get it. Thank you so much for your help. I'll let update you in a few days. =^)

  • Nadine Bryant
    8 years ago

    Thank you so much Monica.. The Netting does work.. I have had so much trouble with them making nest and as soon as I put the netting up I have had no more bird nesting on my porch. So very happy>>>>>>



  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Yeah!!!!!! Put it up once and forget it. You could leave it up year around but we take ours down in the fall. Could probably take it down earlier. Thank you for letting us know your success :)


  • Edward Koranteng
    8 years ago

    We just built a new home and it's our first spring/summer. It's our first experience with swallows who really like the stucco.

    We called animal control and they advised that staying on top of the nest building (hosing it down every couple of days to frustrate them) is the way to go unless we want to do netting.

    I was shocked by the dive bombing, but coupling that with potential for disease makes us even more resolute to not allow these birds to build on our home.

    They started out as a couple, but came back with 2 more couples scoping various eaves they could use among which is our front entry. I dread the thought of a nest above my entry door or anywhere close to it.

    How long do these swallows breed in Minnesota before moving west?

    I could handle a few more weeks of hosing down incomplete nests, but if it's going to be an all summer deal I might as well get some nests.



  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I dealt with this on and off for 25 years. I can tell you from experience, you won't win the hosing the nest down competition. Tack up some carpet backing rubber netting and be done with it :)


  • h mo
    8 years ago

    Wind chimes work for us

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Snot nosed birds! When the alpha species is wounded, the next in line try to dominate. In this case, I guess the next in line are mud swallows. In the 34 years we've lived here, they have NEVER built along the long ledge of the front porch. Only the corners and short ends. Today I looked out to see about a 5 ft stretch of mud along the long edge underneath the porch. They were working fast and furious! DH is recovering from open heart surgery (just over 3 weeks ago) and can't be climbing ladders and hammering nails :( Our 9 yr old grandson was coming over today so I thought between the two of us, we could do this (my husband won't let me on a ladder). Thatcher and I brought the ladder out of the barn and he stood on it to wash and scrub the mud. The nails and hammer were out and the mesh was cut. We went back in the house and got sidetracked. Came outside to find the open heart surgery patient ON THE LADDER JUST FINISHING THE JOB! :o Lord have mercy! Birds came back for about 30 minutes scoping out the scene but never landed and finally left.

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Wind chimes have never worked here.


  • swedish_pimple
    8 years ago

    Thanks for the advice, Monica. I just purchased this item: http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Stop-Non-Slip-Indoor-Size/dp/B003UV3FJ4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1433645203&sr=8-3&keywords=rug+gripper

    It is bigger, but a lot cheaper per sf than the 10"x20" posted above. I will use it in several places around our walkways. Will post back with results.


    -Matt

  • swedish_pimple
    8 years ago

    Oh, and here is a link to learn more about barn swallow nesting and how to build a nest box in a more suitable location: http://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/birds/barn-swallow/


    Living in a region with declining barn swallows and significant mosquito activity, I will be installing several in better places around the house to keep these helpful birds around.

  • bnbenson5
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hi, Monica.

    I have had barn swallows nest in one corner of my covered patio, away from where I sit, for several years. The adults sit up on the gutters and fuss at me, and also swoop down over me. I actually enjoy the activity. I wash down the poop ever so often. I have not seen evidence of mites but I am sure they are there.

    Over the last two days, a new nesting pair started a nest close to where I sit. I decided to try spraying the area with wasp and hornet spray. It is working so far, and they moved their nest building to a nearby covered nitche where I place some of my garden tools and garden chemicals.

    I have not seen much activity at the original nest. I use to see little heads poke up when I made noise, but not recently. No dead birds on the ground so far.

    The spray will also attack the nite problem I suspect. Note, I am NOT spraying the birds. Just the siding trim they are using to attach their nest. Hopefully the smell will be offensive enough to prevent nest building where I sit.

    I have a big open back yard. Rabbits, several varieties of doves and sparrows are at my feeder. Purple Martin house high over the back fence with a dozen or so birds. Also, an occasional jack rabbit in my yard. I also have a red tailed hawk (nesting pair) in the field behind my property. Also grackles, various black birds in season.

  • Pyewacket
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    So has anybody tried that rubberized shelf lining? You can get it in like 10' rolls, ought to make a lot of nest-deterring strips. It seems to me it ought to work as well as the anti-slip rug stuff.

    Plus, its washable - or at least the Rubbermaid version that I have is. Just toss it in the washing machine and it comes out all spic 'n span.

  • lucybcstx
    8 years ago

    Zensojourner, yes, what I used was shelf liner. I bought it at HEB grocery store. Its probably 12" wide. Somewhat lighter in weight than the rug product. Fits just fine around the top of my porch. Been there two years now. Not even visible unless you look for it.


  • Edward Koranteng
    8 years ago
    I think I won the spraying down incomplete nest battle this year. The birds gave up trying to build in on particular corner they really liked. I must have frustrated the heck out of them letting them build for 2-3 days and spraying it down:)

    I will be ready with a more permanent solution next year.
  • sorie6 zone 6b
    8 years ago

    I have a pair nesting that has been here for 3 yr. It's at the end of a 22' porch. I will leave them alone. They do dive bomb the dog sometimes. They leave me alone. With all the rain we've had in Ok this yr. I will let them stay for sure!! We know the mosquitoes will be thick!!

    Thanks for the spray idea for the mites. I've not seen any mites here. But will be watching. Just reading about them makes me itch. LOL!!!

  • djk296
    8 years ago

    I'm so happy I found this discussion. We have 3 corners under the eaves of our home & for the first time in 17 years we have swallows trying to build nests. We've been hosing them down for 3 days & they keep coming back. My husband just left for the hardware store to buy double back tape to attach the rug mesh to the areas. I happen to have several yards of this material already. We can't use nails on the stucco, so we decided the tape might work. The hard part will be using a very tall ladder to get up there & attach the mesh. The swallows have already dive-bombed my husband when he hoses the areas down. They are serious about their nest building aren't they....I guess their little biological clocks are ticking. :-)

  • mrwj1998
    8 years ago


  • mrwj1998
    8 years ago

    We have more then I shake a stick at. Here i did youtube video for you..

    http://youtu.be/yMF2ZyW9Wu4

  • mrwj1998
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Here is another youtube video for you..we where considering chicken wire..

    http://youtu.be/Qqu41AKiQhc

  • mrwj1998
    8 years ago

    Just found this..has any one tried this?
    Step 1. Swallow bird nest removal
    Remove 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.

  • Jordan Margavio
    7 years ago

    It's that time of year again. I have quietly been following this forum, as I had an all out war with the birds on my porch last year. Well, they are already back this year, so I am purchasing the rug gripper material RIGHT NOW. I also have that metallic bird tape. They dive bombed me all summer last year, and it was ridiculous the mess they left. I've even thought about starting to feed one of the stray cats and letting it hang out on the front porch. Just let that problem take care of itself. I am so frustrated after last year. They have plenty of bushes and trees that they can nest in. I will try the netting, and if that doesn't work, I will move on to something a bit more ... deliberate.

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    It will work! ☺

  • Edward Koranteng
    7 years ago
    What a painful reminder that these birds are back to ruin my summer:)
  • Edward Koranteng
    7 years ago
    I hate to deface my house with all the things that work so I plan on letting them build and power washing down their nest progress every 3-4 days and frustrating the heck out of them and me:)

    They aren't here yet I have to add.
  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    It doesn't have to be a painful reminder (g)

    I can say after 25 years of dealing with the words you're not going to win LOL... or maybe I just gave up prematurely! My exterior trim happens to be the same color as The netting so it's practically invisible especially since it only takes at the most three or four inches (tall). This has been one hundred percent successful since 2009 or 2010.

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    BIRDS not words

  • Amanda Hubner
    7 years ago

    Hello Monica,

    My name is Amanda & I would love to see a picture of how you hung the rubber netting, as it is no longer showing on the site. Thank You!!

  • auntroz
    7 years ago

    Amanda,

    Monica posted these for me (in above comments) when I asked.

    Hope this helps you. It certainly did for us, but this year my husband sprayed OFF on the area when they first tried to return to our area under the breezeway. Thwarted the little buggers and they immediately went to the BARN where we are happy to have them!

  • labirder
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi to all! I've read through almost every post on this thread and I can see that lots of people deal with the same issue! I love barn swallows and love watching them swoop over my pond and dive to the surface. I have many suitable places on my property for them to roost & nest, but they frequently choose to build their nests on the protected ledges of my porch. I've tried removing the partially completed nests, and the swallows are relentless! I've tried hanging fake owls and putting rubber snakes on the ledges. They wise up to the fake stuff pretty quickly! LOL! My husband finally put some strips of siding (that match our house) at a 45-degree angle, all along the ledges. This has worked great on the straight runs. However, the birds still attempt to nest in the corners. This year, after removing numerous nests that were under construction, I have tried a new product. It is Rustoleum Never-Wet. [I am not promoting any brand or product, and don't have any ties whatsoever to this product!] It's a kit with two spray cans...a base & a top coat. You can look it up on YouTube to see videos of how the product works. It creates a hydrophobic surface that water will not adhere to. It dries clear (or nearly clear) so you don't even see it. After three weeks, there has not been any evidence of attempts at new nest building. So far, I'm thrilled! I still enjoy watching the swallows fly around my pond, so I'm sure they've found other suitable nesting sites.

  • bmarkota
    7 years ago

    Hi,

    I am having a really had time with theses swallows. I used a self liner which looks like the rug backing discussed earlier. I did not hang it from the corners but actually adhered it to the stucco with double sided tape. I was afraid if I just hung it in the corner the birds would go underneath the hanging product. Today I see they are actually building over the shelf liner product. Help I just dont know what to do.

  • Cindy Musselwhite
    7 years ago

    Monica,

    Thank you for the help. We have a back deck and a front covered porch. Our back deck is a covered and screened in. Down stairs under the back deck is an entrance to the basement Apartment we have for Missionaries or family members staying for a visit. Last year we noticed a nest being built under the back deck. We didn't bother it thinking it would be neat to watch the babies. We were WRONG! My family was staying in the basement Apartment at that time and my granddaughter got covered in a rash from head to toe and was itching. Upon my daughter Amy inspecting her hair and all over she found little bugs (mites) on her. Of Course this scared my little granddaughter to death. So immediately she was taken care of to insure nothing else was on her and then the rash began to heal. The baby bird's had just left the nest about this time so down it came. This year the Mama is back. Thank you for your help. We don't want them her. She built right in the pathway of coming in and out of the house downstairs. This can't happen again. I don't think people should make any comment unless they have truly experienced this.


    monicakm_gw thanked Cindy Musselwhite
  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    bmarkota, can you take a picture of how you hung the shelf liner? If you hang it too high over the ledge (if that's what you're protecting, they can build on top of it. We just barely cover a straight ledge. If we're protecting the CORNERS (which is what we started out protecting), we went up a little higher and left enough slack in the material that we could form it to "fit" the corner rather than taunt and straight which would provide a gap for them to fly down into. I hope that makes sense.

  • Emma Haslingden
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Just the advice I needed. Have discovered swallows building a nest in the eaves of my home directly above my kitchen window and patio which is where my washing rotary line is too. Straight to Google and found your advice. Hubby at work now so not too clever up a ladder without him, so I will perceiver this time. There is only one nest and we'll be away for a week shortly then hopefully afterwards the little darlings will be on their way. Will make a mental note for next year and try your idea. We have only lived in our new home for 6 months and appreciate all the wildlife that comes with it. I've found myself chasing away magpies and ravens helping themselves to other birds eggs. Neighbours must think I'm crazy.

  • Laurel Hare
    7 years ago

    I had someone tell me that peppermint oil in an oil carrier would discourage the swallows trying to build on my porch. I poured a line all along any surface they could perch on. I tacked a towel like a tent over the area that they kept trying to build on. They kept flying in after I did this to see if things had changed but they never again landed on a perch area. After a couple of days, I didn't see them again. I am told that birds cannot smell very well, however, that the vapors from the peppermint oil irritate their lungs while breathing so they leave. It also has the added bonus of being an insect repellant. It's worked for me so far. Hope this helps someone else. I like the net matting material idea. I think I will do that instead of the towel if I have birds return again.

  • Mickey Zimmer
    7 years ago

    We built our house in 2004 and the first spring started having barn swallows building their mud nests on our front porch which was made of brick. My husband used to keep the mud washed down as they were building their nests as we didn't want to do it once they had started nesting. They are very persistent birds so it took a lot of time to keep on top of preventing them from building their nests. We finally came up with the idea about 6 years ago of using woven shelving fabric to prevent them from having access to the brick which they attached their mud nests to. We tacked it around from the ceiling where they normally built their nests (not usually in the corner) and as an additional measure sprayed it with Pam so the mud would not stick as easy if they tried to build a nest on the fabric but I only used Pam the first year so I don't know if that helped at all or not. This worked for years until this year. As you can see on the attached pic they have built their nest partially on the brick and partially on the shelving fabric. We should have covered the entire porch. Not sure why hubby didn't. Guess I'll try the carpet grip stuff and make sure all the corners are completely covered this time. Someone else I spoke to mentioned using those magnetic screen doors (that you use to block bugs from coming into your house if you don't have a screen door) and hanging it down and the birds wouldn't go under it but not sure of what she meant. Maybe if the porch is small enough you could tack up the screen horizontally across your entire porch down a few feet and they might not make their nests that low. These guys are safe till they fly away but then watch out!

  • monicakm_gw
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I'm the one that started this thread years ago. Those nasty birds have made do somewhere else (I'm totally shocked they can manage to survive without MY house <g>). Last year they tried a new spot. We covered it and that was the end of it till now. They've tried yet another spot (around back). We had the netting around the patio but took it down last year after the nesting season. They just started trying to build there this week. DH has been too busy at work to put up more netting. SO, I tried two of the options listed recently. Apparently Texas Swallows aren't as easily dissuaded :( I hosed down the mess and turned on the ceiling fans. That didn't work. Today I sprayed the area with Wasp and Hornet spray. That didn't work either. Well, I say it didn't. I saw one bird and he stayed for awhile instead of flying off once he got a whiff of the insecticide but I haven't seen anymore today. The netting is still the only thing I've tried that 100% works!

  • labirder
    7 years ago

    I still haven't seen any successful attempts at nesting since I used the Never Wet. I'm sticking with that.

  • swedish_pimple
    7 years ago

    Monica, I took your advice and ordered the material last summer. No issues then, but this spring, the Michigan barn swallows have decided just to nest right on top of the material. Darndest thing.

    I may try to move the pieces further out from the wall and just tack to the ceiling. Making the carpet backing more flimsy and hopefully impossible for the birds to nest.

    Unless there are any better ideas...

  • princeofwilshire
    7 years ago

    I can definitely understand what some of you have gone through with trying to rid the swallows from your porches. I had the same issue this year for the first time and although I am a bird and animal lover here in Austin Texas....I don't want them on my porch making a mess. Very aggressive little birds too! So those of you who think I am mean.....frankly that's too bad.

    However, by accident I did something that absolutely (excuse the term) freaked them out. I turned on my front porch light. Well....it's a rather large hanging pendant light if you will that hangs directly in the middle of my very large and long porch. I flipped it on one evening because they were trying to roost on top of the light fixture....and they went nuts. Since then, I have kept it on all day and night....all Spring and Summer...no more nests and no more roosting on my porch. They don't even fly into it any longer. Try that and see if it works for you.

  • Jessica Morrow
    6 years ago

    I just stumbled upon this post as I try to prevent the recurring problems from Barn Swallows again this year. Unfortunately, the image is no longer available and I cannot see how you hung the netting.

    We have a colony of Barn Swallows that roost at our apartment building each year. The landlord hates them, but a former tenant had posted signs everywhere about how it was illegal to remove the nests. It was only through my own research that I realized it was only illegal while eggs or babies were in the nests, and those tenants moved out this winter. In addition to nesting on top of our buildings lights, covered walkways, and eaves, my apartment and the one next door have outdoor entrances from our gorgeous courtyard and patio which have covered stairwells. Each year, the swallows fly through these two stairwells like its the Lincoln Tunnel, dive bombing anyone who tries to walk on the stairs. They build their nests on the outlet boxes or porch lights. The first summer we lived here, I thought it was really neat to have such a close view of their lives, as I would often sit on my steps and could watch the babies as they grew, taking great care to be quiet and non-threatening. However, I also found that my porch steps and exterior wall were covered with bird droppings. They are also very very noisy when there is an entire colony of them outside of your windows. All of the "teenage" birds hang out in one of our courtyard trees outside of my window, which my cat loves but can actually drown out any conversation or television in our living room.

    Then I experienced what I thought were bed bugs in our house. I had tiny bites head to toe and could constantly feel them crawling on me despite rarely being able to see anything. It got so bad that I was getting the bites infected from itching all the time, and I couldn't sleep because I could feel the bugs crawling on my skin as soon as I tried to relax. I finally captured a few and took them to the University's Department of Entymology, who identified them as bird mites. That experience was HORRIFIC. I was ready to burn our entire building down after reading that the bird mites multiply much more quickly than bed bugs and are nearly impossible to remove. Luckily, the mites died off when the birds finally left for the season, but I can no longer sit outside on my wooden stairs because I fear contracting them again.

    The next spring, I tried the knock-down method, just on my own stairwell. I would open my screen door 2 inches and use a broom handle to knock down the nests up to 7 times a day. The swallows became very agitated, and and two attacked my daughter's head when she got home from school one of the days. I couldn't sit inside and repeat this process forever, though, and they got their nest up one day while I was off at a 12 hour work shift. The outlet covers they use are too high up to see into, and I knew that some other nests already had eggs, so I couldn't knock it down, more out of compassion than fear of charges.

    This will be our third summer here. Our elderly landlord has given up trying to prevent them from nesting even in the building entryways. I have removed my porch light cover so there is no solid surface to nest on, but the outlet box cover is too high up and I can't put a ladder on the stairs to reach it. I have considered trying to throw a cotton ball soaked with peppermint oil up there (it has worked in the past for mice and spider problems), or hanging a bunch of cut aluminum as a mobile at the top of the steps (I have heard that the reflections off the metal scare birds off), but I simply can't go through another year of this if those methods don't work. I saw that I could use something to create a 45% slope where the nest to prevent them, but again... getting up there is an issue. I am curious to see how you used the mesh. Could you please share the picture again?

  • Pyewacket
    6 years ago

    check the posting by auntroz posted on March 19, 2016 at 5:05PM

    She has several pictures that might help.

    Also check this posting:

    http://nature.gardenweb.com/discussions/2229438/how-to-stop-birds-from-building-mud-nests-on-my-front-porch#19762329

  • Abby Tate
    5 years ago

    The barn swallows arrived yesterday and were scoping out our back porch. I mixed up a solution of isopropyl alcohol, peppermint, and tea tree essential oil. I used about two cups of alcohol and half a bottle of each oil. The smell is very potent. I sprayed the solution all over the stucco and got on the ladder to reach the lower eaves. A few hours later, they came back with the first piece of mud, and as soon as they left I doused that spot with the solution. They haven't been back at all today, but I keep the spray bottle at the ready just in case.

  • kmws1234
    5 years ago

    I have also been having problems with swallows building nests above our front door and along our windows. I can tear the nests down and within hours they are building again! I hung clear plastic wrap with clear tape along the tops of our windows and doors preventing a place for the birds to land. This worked great and didn’t look too bad in the neighborhood. Thinking their “nesting” season over, I tore it down- which was an open invitation for them to return!

  • HU-251608415131910581061
    5 years ago

    Hello, Does anyone leave their porch/flood light on 24/7 to keep birds away? I’ve seen this odd practice; wouldn’t do it myself, but am wondering if it’s effective. The bulbs were not incandescent, so there wouldn’t be much heat from them. Thanks!

  • Aunt Arctica
    3 years ago

    So, as a avian rescuer, here are some solutions. First, know that all of our birds are in decline. Swallows have lost a lot of their wild habitat nesting sites, thus the eagerness to find anything. Trust me, they do not really want to be on our homes, but we have cleared, logged, mowed, and taken much of their natural habitat. Cliff swallow (mud nests) - if you have acreage and good food habitat, consider putting up a simple shelf for them on your home in an area that is less inconvenient. Placing a shelf below that catches all the poop (bird parasites are not a risk to us). Simply take them down end of summer and hose down. You get your mosquito eaters, a neat bird to watch, and no mess! Tree - the green backed ones looking for cavities - if you have acreage, put up boxes out in a meadow. Voila! see www.treeswallowproject.com for how to. Barn - brownish - and aim for barns. These guys are clearing out the flies and insects bothering your horses, cows, etc. Again, their poops can be handled by installing shelves or something under the rafters they are nesting on. Netting is the solution for complete exclusion for all of these. There are professional companies offering heavier duty netting that is a permanent solution. But also enclosing eaves, making sure vent holes are covered, placing something strange on the wall works. Spraying oils and whatnot harms these birds as it harms their feathering or is toxic. Please be nice. Garden netting very thin and must be hung vertically never at an angle. A couple of plant hangers or hanging it from the eaves just during the time when the birds are returning (right about now, April) works well. Secure the bottom so it is not blowing all over. Good luck.