How to Get Rid of Barn Swallows (8 Simple Methods)

  • Author: Carl
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Here are 8 ways to get rid of barn swallows:

  1. Remove sources of water and food
  2. Install netting
  3. Install spikes
  4. Install fake predators
  5. Use sound deterrents
  6. Use light deterrents
  7. Install reflective surfaces
  8. Remove abandoned nests

Below, I will go into more detail on each method mentioned above.

Before I do, it is important to note that barn swallows are protected as migratory birds.

It is illegal to remove nests inhabited by eggs or chicks without a permit.

How Do I Remove Water and Food?

This first method is meant to make your home unappealing when it comes to a swallow’s basic needs.

Blue Barn Swallow bird
Barn Swallow bird

It should be used in conjunction with other methods as it may not be enough on its own.

Removing water sources will be the easier of the two unless you live by a body of water or have a permanent water fixture nearby.

If you own the water fixture and it’s small enough you can cover it when barn swallows are in your area.

If you do not live in an area with the above water sources your job will be a little easier. Since there are no sources of water to cover, just make sure that there are no places for water to pool after rain.

As for food, swallows eat flying bugs.

Anything you can do to eliminate or limit the population of such insects will lower the chances of barn swallows nesting on your home.

Insect populations can be controlled with pesticides and traps.


Your Call: In many cases, this won’t be feasible. Again, I recommend using this method in addition to others.


What Will Installing Netting Do?

Swallows will attempt to nest in the eaves and other corners of your home. By installing netting, you can prevent them from getting to these places.

For this to be effective you must cover all likely spaces.

Additionally, barn swallows are small so the netting must be fine enough that the birds cannot slip through.

This method will involve some effort and a lot of netting depending on the size of your home.

However, it is an ideal solution since quality netting will last.

This method should also be effective in preventing other birds from nesting on your home.

Bird netting is available in many home improvement stores.

How Are Bird Spikes Used?

Bird spikes are used to make an area uncomfortable so that birds have no place to rest.

Apply these spikes anywhere you notice swallows resting.

Bird spikes around house
Bird spikes

They may also be used to prevent access to nesting locations.

Rest assured that proper bird spikes will not hurt the birds. These spikes are visible enough that birds will not accidentally fly into them.


Works Fine: They are sharp, but shouldn’t be sharp enough to harm any birds.


What Options Are Available for Fake Predators?

This method comes with two options. You can buy a predator kite or a predator scarecrow. Both aim to mimic predators of small birds like swallows. If it is convincing enough it should scare any swallows away.

Predator kites have the downside of only working on windy days. If you live in a windy place this may not be an issue.

The kite must look like a predator to have any chance of intimidating barn swallows. 

Plastic crow against barn swallows
Plastic crow

It can be helpful to reposition the kite every couple of days so that birds don’t get accustomed to it.

The other option is to purchase a predator statue. The more realistic it looks the better it should work. Place the statue near potential nesting or resting areas.

What Are Sound Deterrents?

Sound deterrents include recordings of predator noises and distress calls in addition to ultrasonic emitters.

This method should work well on its own, but using another in conjunction wouldn’t hurt.

Recordings of predators and distress calls will make the surrounding area seem like a dangerous place for a swallow to live. Birds won’t make nests in dangerous areas.

The issue with this method is that there will be intermittent bird noises the entire time the speaker is on.

If you live in an urban environment this may result in complaints from your neighbors. 

If this is the case and you still want to use sound deterrents then the other option is best for you.


As a Result: The ultrasonic sounds will be above your hearing but will be audible to any birds. These sounds will be uncomfortable for birds in the area.


What Are Light Deterrents?

If high-tech solutions are your thing, this option is for you.

Light deterrents are laser projectors that scare away birds using bright lasers of various colors. They can be aimed at any place that birds might nest.

Most are not battery operated so they will need a power source.

CDs for getting rid of barn swallows
Get rid of birds

Thankfully, many of these devices are programmable so you won’t have a constant light show on the side of your home.

What Will Reflective Surfaces Do?

This method may not seem very effective, but it can be helpful.

Birds are startled by sudden movement and usually don’t understand reflections. Reflective surfaces will catch that movement and frighten the bird.

These can be easy to do yourself by using old mirrors or CDs.

Alternatively, there are professional reflector repellents that can be purchased at home improvement stores.

When Can I Remove Nests?

Nests can only be removed if they are not inhabited by eggs or chicks. In some cases not even then. 

Be sure to look up your local laws on barn swallow protections.

Across the United States, it is illegal to destroy a nest without a permit if there are eggs or chicks inside.

Final Words

The old saying ‘ Prevention is better than cure ‘ is true when it comes to Barn Swallows.

Taking the time to ensure you have simple but effective measures in place to detract them from nesting is the best plan.

However, if you find yourself still stuck with barn swallows hopefully some of the actions mentioned above will help get rid of them fast.

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