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Greedy gulls and pesky pigeons leave Dubliners in a flap

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Hungry seagulls snatch food from people in Howth

Hungry seagulls snatch food from people in Howth

Hungry seagulls snatch food from people in Howth

Dubliners have been warned to be wary of aggressive gulls following a surge in complaints, most of them coming from the capital.

Pest control firm Rentokil said there has been a 12pc increase in calls since January compared with the same period last year.

Pigeons and other pests have also been causing problems.

At 49pc, Dublin accounted for nearly half of all callouts, while 12pc came from Cork, 8pc from Meath and 7pc from Kildare.

Rentokil's Richard Faulkner said seagulls were "most aggressive" at this time of the year.

"We are encouraging members of the public to treat seagulls with caution and keep their distance from them where possible, as they are at their most aggressive now," he said.

"As lockdown restrictions are lifted and people start spending more time outside, this is the time when people and seagulls are most likely to cross paths."

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Rentokil said there is a lot of nest activity in August as seagull chicks begin to fledge, causing the parent birds to become extremely aggressive and protective of their young.

They are most likely to harass or try to steal food from people and raid waste bins in search of discarded food.

Rentokil also warned that pigeon droppings contain bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella, which can lead to the spread of infections through surface contamination or inhalation.

Bacteria from dried droppings can be transferred by mite bites.

Mites, textile beetles and fleas are attracted to nests and roosting sites, so the presence of gulls or pigeons around homes and business can trigger infestations.

"To discourage the presence of gulls and other pest birds from your home or business, keep food sources well-hidden and ensure bin lids are secure and rubbish bags are not left out in the open," Mr Faulkner said.

"Gulls have sharp beaks that will make short work of bin bags."