Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Protecting Berry Bushes from Hungry Birds and Rabbits

Question about protecting blueberry bushes from birds.

Q: "How do I keep birds from eating my blueberries? This is the second year for the bushes which are covered with green berries. Would a Bird-X bird repeller do the job? I don't want to deal with bird netting if I don't have to."Thanks. Jack

Answer: Your best choice is not the bird repeller unless you install multiple units of the smaller units, the Bird-X Peller 1 and the Bird-X Peller 2. Each unit has only one speaker. You would have to have at least two units or install the Super Bird-X Peller with four speakers. These are noisy, you would have to have AC power and your neighbors might be unhappy.

I recommend that you either drape the plants with standard 3/4 inch mesh bird netting or build what is called a walk-in blueberry cage. Essentially that is a frame over which you drape the netting. That way you can secure the bird net so birds cannot get underneath. After harvest, which usually takes a few weeks per variety, you can remove the netting. The netting should last for years since it is UV treated.

Remember that rabbits and other rodents enjoy the young branches of blueberry plants. To keep them out in the wintertime, surround the bushes with tall chicken wire fencing

Blueberry bushes require little care, if you are in the right climate zones, keep the soil acidic and provide enough water. In 1964, I gave my dad a half dozen small bushes. Four of them survive to this day in western Pennsylvania and continue to produce huge numbers of berries 45 years later. Each spring the bushes are covered with bird netting that is anchored along the edges with bricks. Rarely a bird will get underneath and need to be rescued.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy those pies!
Sincerely, Barbara

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Choose Correct Bird Spikes for Your Bird Problems

Question about polycarbonate bird spikes versus steel bird spikes and which size to get.

Q: "Birds are perching along the edges of our building. The people on the ground two floors below are not happy getting "bombed" when the bird poop hits them. We are not happy either due to the mess. How do we choose which bird spikes to install?" Sam

Answer: The Bird-X stainless steel bird spikes or polycarbonate bird spikes come in several widths. The widths given are the top widths. The base is what you need to decide upon first. Narrow polycarbonate spikes have a .5 inch base and the standard have a 1 inch base. The stainless steel spikes have a base 0.8 inch base made of polycarbonate with UV inhibitors to keep them from deteriorating.

I recommend you consider these questions in choosing:
  • How visible do you want them to be? The polycarbonate are clear so they hardly show.
  • How wide is the area to be covered? You don't want the spikes so wide that they are crowded into gutter areas or into the walls if they are on a ledge. Standard are the best sellers unless there is a very narrow or very wide ledge. You may need several widths if the widths are not all the same.
  • How long is the area to be protected? This may be a cost issue as well.
  • Do you want to glue, nail, wire or screw them into/onto the ledge or edge? Hint: Most people use a glue gun.
  • How much do you want to spend? The stainless steel are considerably more expensive.
  • How long do you want them to last? The warranty on the stainless steel is 20 years.
  • Maintenance: The polycarbonate have more points are are more likely to collect leaves, etc. than the stainless steel which range from 2 spikes to 4 spikes with spacing between the center 2 spikes equaling 2 inches and the distance between the 1st and 4th spikes ranging from 5 to 7 inches.
The Polycarbonate Bird Spike Specifications:
* Heights: Highest Point: 4.3 inches
: the spikes look a little like tree branches.
* Width (Base) : 1" (Standard) .5 inches (Narrow)
* Width (Widest Point): 4.5 inches(Standard) 2.25 inches (Narrow)
* Diameters: Hole in Base: 0.156 inches, Polycarbonate center spike: 0.125 inches

* Weight: 5lb per 10 ft kit , 16 lbs per 100 ft. kit
* Materials: polycarbonate with UV inhibitors
* Coverage: Each section covers 2 ft, and a spread or width of 7 inches, 5 inches, and 2 inches, depending on type of spike
* Sizes: 10ft , 24ft , 50ft ,100ft (in 2ft strips)
* Color: Clear transparent

Stainless Steel Specifications and Product Details:
* Heights: Highest Point: 4.3 inches

* Widths: Base: 0.8 inches
* Widths: Spikes Widest Points: Regular: 5 inches, Wide: 7 inches, Narrow: 1.5 inches

* Diameters: Hole in Base: 0.156", Polycarbonate center spike: 0.125"
* Weight: 5 lb per 10 ft kit , 16 lbs per 100 ft kit
* Materials: Base: polycarbonate with UV inhibitors, ST302 Surgical Grade stainless steel
* Coverage:Each section covers 2ft, and a "spread" or width of 7 inches, 5 inches, and 2 inches depending on type of spike
* Sizes: 10 ft , 24 ft, 50 ft ,100 ft (in 2 ft.
strips)

Another option if the ledges are narrow: Bird-X Bird Repellent Gel. Birds don't like sticky feet and will perch elsewhere. A less expensive option but must be reapplied every few years.

Thanks for your question. Send us email or phone if we can help with your decision.

Sincerely, Barbara


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Floating Gator Head and Coyote Decoy Get Rid of Geese

Question about the 25 inch long Floating AlliGator Heads and getting rid of geese.

Q: "I live in Cordova, Tennessee. I have a swimming pool and a pond that is about 1/3 of an acre. Every year at least one pair of geese invade: I think the offspring plus the original parents. They nest, hatch their goslings and leave piles of goose droppings on my lawn and sometimes not just in the pond but in my swimming pool. I'd like to shoot them but my wife won't let me. The local park has had good luck with the Floating Gator Head. What do you think?" Thanks. Joe.

Answer: I do recommend at least one of the 25 inch long Floating Gator Heads. Joe and I spoke on the phone: he was ready to buy a Goosebuster repeller until his wife realized it would be noisy and objected! We also discussed the Goosechase spray for the yard. What he decided on and purchased was one Floating Head plus a 3-D Coyote replica. (Coyote replicas work great to scare off ducks, too.) Joe has a fenced in yard so he was not concerned about the Coyote wandering off during the night like the ones did at the local park!

Joe has agreed to let me know the results.

Thanks again for you question, Joe.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bird Gel Bird Repellent Gel and Liquid Active Ingredients

Question about Bird Proof Gel and Bird Proof Liquid.

Q: "I have birds perching on my gutters and store sign. Sometimes customers have to duck and sometimes they get a messy surprise on their clothing. I would prefer to avoid products that are noisy or toxic. What are the active ingredients in Bird Proof Gel and Bird Proof Liquid? Are they toxic?" Thanks. Steve.

Answer: Bird-Proof Gel is EPA registered (708, EPA Est. # 1621-MI-1) as is TRANSPARENT BIRD REPELLENT (EPA Registration No. 8254-3-8708) The chemical name for both is polybutene which is a petro chemical and is not a DOT regulated products. Bird Proof Gel is not a hazardous material as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200.

Both can be skin irritants with no long lasting health hazards. Both are listed as
Hazardous Polymerization: NONE. But incomplete burning of the liquid can produce carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other harmful products.

It is advised that the user wear safety goggles. If you need more information, we can send you the Material Data Safety Sheet which will soon be posted on our website.

I recommend that you get sufficient Bird Gel and/or Bird Proof Liquid to do the gutters as well as the entire top of your overhang. If you can get neighboring businesses to do the same, your bird problems should be over.

Thanks. for your question. Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

BirdProof Gel or Bird-XPeller Pro 2 for Black Birds?

Question about the Product: BirdProof Gel

Q: "If we put this on the balcony railing, will it be visible on the black wrought iron? When you say transparent, does that mean you cannot see it at all? Will it damage the paint. There are also porous stucco waist-high columns that the birds roost on. What do you suggest we do for that?"

Answer: The Bird Proof Gel is sticky, kind of like a Vaseline type substance. So it won't be “completely invisible”. If your balcony railings are at a height where people might lean on them or touch them, you don't want to use bird gel.

I recommend that you install a Bird Xpeller Pro 2 , that scares off blackbirds and similar birds. You can put it on a timer setting and adjust the volume so it is not obnoxious. A complimentary option that I recommend is to purchase Irritape . These streamers rattle in the wind and dazzle in the sunlight, both of which keep birds away. Since the stucco columns are waist high, installing bird spikes is not an option.

Good luck and thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Rid of Roosting Robins in a Tree

Question about the Product P3-P7830, P3 Passive Infra-Red Sonic Birdchaser Repeller

Q: "Will this product scare away roosting robins in a tree? I will mount it in the tree and need to run it at night starting at dusk when they arrive. Please offer your repy and any guarantee that it will work. Thanks. Franco"

Answer: This is not the unit for you: it won't work at night because it has a photo electric cell that won't let it operate.

The photo cell of the BirdChaser disables the unit when it gets dark as that is the time birds tend to be less active. The BirdChaser does have two modes, infra-red and Auto. The infra-red motion detector mode in which the unit activates if a bird flies in the detection area or any warm blooded animal is detected within the covered area. The Auto mode activates according to the setting of the time interval, 5 to 30 minutes. So during daytime hours, the BirdChaser broadcasts predatory calls of hawks and owls every 5 to 30 minutes.

Better choices:
  • Spraying the tree with Birdproof liquid: birds won't roost if the roost is sticky. Lasts a few years in most climates.
  • Hanging Holographic Irritape in the tree: wind makes the tape rustle and sun glare scares the birds away.
  • BirdXpeller Pro 1 : This sonic bird chaser can be set to operate at night as well as during the day. Set switch 3 and switch 4 to on and it will operate at night. Or set switch 3 off and switch 4 on and it will work 24/7.

Getting rid of birds and keeping them away is easier and more successful if you use more than one bird control method at the same time.

Thanks again for your question. Good luck.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Does the Cat & Dog Repeller Work on Ducks?

Question about the product Product Code: =KN-CD01 Koolatron 9 Volt Battery Powered Cat & Dog Repeller

Q: "Does this product repel nuisance ducks??"-Leslie.

Answer: No, the Koolatron Cat and Dog Repeller frequencies are not heard by ducks and other birds. What you need to repel ducks and geese are other products designed and tested for this purpose. For ducks, the choices include visual scare devices, taste repellents and the Goosebuster sonic repeller. Using 2 or more devices usually works faster and is more effective.

Visual scare devices that repel ducks and geese are:

  • Two-dimensional Coyote decoy: Realistic photo silhouettes are portable and easy to set-up or take down. And repel ducks and geese.
  • 3D Coyote replica: The lifelike furry tail that changes positions with a breeze. This gives 360-degree coverage, visible from any angle and guards about 1/4 acre. This works best if you have several replicas and periodically move them around. Combine with the Garden Scent-ry plastic holder and the Shake Away Small Animal or Deer Repellent granules to add predator scent.
  • Gator Guard. The Gator Guard floats in your pond or swimming pool. It is a realistic, floating alligator head that is 25 threatening inches long and moves and bobs with the wind and water. Its life-like eyes flash in the light and scares away ducks, geese and small animals.

Taste Repeller: GooseChase repels geese and ducks from grass. This is a biodegradable food-grade repellent spray for grass made from grapes. one gallon of Goose Chase treats 1 acre or 1 pint treats 1/8 of an acre. Unfortunately, when it rains, this is washed off and needs to be reapplied.

Sonic Repellers: Goosebuster is a great choice if you have a lot of ducks and geese, a lot of property to protect and the funds. We've sold this to resorts, golf courses and those with larger properties who are tired of ducks and geese. This unit covers up to 7 acres, has 4 speakers and blasts out predator and ducks and geese in distress sounds.

Thanks again for your question. Good luck in getting rid of the ducks.

Sincerely,

Barbara

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

How Can I Keep Bears Out of My Yard?

Question about animal repellers for bears.

Q: "I have several bird feeders in my back yard and a garden. Bears are coming and eating the food and/or destroying the feeders and garden plants. Do you have suggestions for how to keep the bears from my yard?" Thanks.

Answer: Unless you install an electric bear fence around the yard perimeter as zoos, garbage dumps, etc. do, the best choice is the Critter Blaster Pro , a powerful sonic unit with four speakers and requires AC. Coverage is up to six acres. You'd have to install that at the edge/edges of your property as it will also repel birds. My other suggestion is to install Yardgard units around the perimeter of your yard.

Yardgards will also scare away your birds. Thus the perimeter placement. Continuous operation is possible only with AC. Motion activates the units if run on batteries. Overlapping the coverage will increase the battery operated units effectiveness.

Good luck. Contact us if you have more questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Using Knotted Bird Netting to Cover a Pen

Question about the produt Bird Net Notted, Polyethylene 25 ft by 25 ft.

Q:"Can this be used for bird cages? I'm looking for something to cover a pen that is 15 feet by 25 feet." Thanks. McKey

Answer: This knotted netting has 3/4 inch square openings and is quite flexible. You should easily be able to wrap this netting around a pen or bird cage. The netting can be cut to fit any size you need. Depending upon the pen structure, you can attach the netting using one of the methods below that are usually used to keep birds out rather than in.

Choose one of these methods to attach the netting:
1. Wire and polyclips: Often used on concrete, brick or steel structures. Polyclips easily fold over wire and snap together through netting spacing 1 – 3 feet apart depending on the application. Polyclips come in a case of 250.
2. Epoxy caulk: Purchase at hardware stores. Use on concrete,brick and steel. Or purchase special adhesive from Ssfe Home Products.
3. Plastic banding and stapling. For wood structures, staple to a solid wood surface through the plastic banding that is woven into the netting every 4 to 5 strands.
4. Wood lath strips: On wooden structures, use nails and wood lathe strips.

Thank you for your question. Good luck with your birds.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Can I Keep Sparrows Out of My Horse Barn?

Question about Bird Repellers:

Q: "I had a question about bird repellers. I need something for my horse barn to keep sparrows out, but there are cats, dogs and horses out there. Would your electronic device be safe for them? Please answer my email asap, as the birds are making a big mess out there". Thanks, Pat

Answer: Safe Home sells several electric bird repeller units with prices ranging from under $100, the P3 International Passive InfraRed Sonic Bird Repeller to units that include a combination sonic and ultrasonic repeller with 4 speakers plus visual scare devices, the BroadBand Pro for under $1000 to "industrial strength" units for over $1500. We also sell visual scare devices, roost inhibitors and bird spikes. Some electronic bird repellers are sonic only, some are ultrasonic only and some feature both auditory and silent sounds.
My suggestion is to begin with visual scare devices and perhaps one sonic bird repeller unit. You could begin with the visual scare and add the sonic repeller later if you are concerned about the noise. Without seeing your barn, more accurate suggestions are difficult to make. Several years ago, a dairy farmer in Idaho bought Irritape and a 4 speaker Super BirdXpeller I from us at the suggestion of a neighboring farmer. Your situation may require something like this if the easier, less expensive methods don't work. (He said the cows were more bothered by the birds and the bird poop than by the noises.)
I suggest that you install the Terror Eyes orange balls on springs outside all openings to your barn. That would mean on either side of your main door and near all open windows. If your barn has openings at the eaves for ventilation, I suggest you install mesh screening to keep the birds out. A Prowler Owl in your barn would add to protection. If your barn permits installation and you have good cross ventilation, adding Irritape inside or outside on trees near to the barn to keep the birds away. The Irritape makes noises as it moves in the wind and the changing patterns scare off birds, too.
All nests must be removed. To keep birds from nesting or roosting on the beams, you can install netting, use a sprayer and spray Bird Proof Liquid or install bird spikes. Bird spikes are definitely the most expensive way to go in terms of time spent installing and money. Inside the bird proof is probably the easiest. Birds don't like sticky feet. And without weather to effect it, the bird proof should be effective for years.
The Bird-X BirdXpeller Pro 1 is a proven winner in bird control of sparrows, etc. That and the unit by P3 International, the motion sensor activated BirdChaser are your best choices for a smaller barn. I suggest you use a timer so that the units activate when the horses, etc. are out for the day.
Ultrasonic units work well to keep birds out once you've gotten the situation under control with the other units. The problem with ultrasound is that it is like light beams, the sound bounces off hard surfaces and is absorbed by soft surfaces plus the units must be installed high off the ground so that birds can fly under the sound waves and not be effected. Ultrasonic repellers mounted low will drive your cats and dogs nuts.
Please contact us with your barn dimensions and we'll help you choose what you need.
Sincerely,
Barbara

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