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OverviewWire mesh is a product that has a wide variety of uses but is rarely considered as an exclusion device for nuisance pigeons or birds. This is likely to be as a result of the fact that nylon bird netting is the industry standard bird exclusion product and as such is normally recommended over its galvanised or stainless steel counterpart. Wire mesh is available in a huge variety of different sizes and gauges to suit almost any bird exclusion operation and would normally be used in areas where aesthetics are not the main consideration.
nylon netting. Wire mesh is not commonly available in widths of more than 1.20metres (48”) and the longest rolls currently available are 30 metres (100 ft).Wire mesh is commonly used as a bird control product for the proofing of railway and rail/road bridges and the undersides of canopies to exclude nuisance pigeons or birds. Wire mesh can also be used for boxing in air conditioning units and other plant on roof areas. Wire mesh would be used where access is difficult and costly and where longevity is the main issue rather than aesthetics. Although wire mesh can be sourced in a variety of extremely fine gauges the disadvantages of the product is that it is more visible than its nylon counterpart and it is much heavier than
Wire mesh is available in rolls or as off-the-shelf panels and some suppliers will also provide a made-to-measure service making up panels to order. Wire mesh is available in galvanised, stainless steel or plastic coated formats:
- The stainless steel mesh is the most expensive of the three options with the main benefit of stainless steel over galvanised being that it will last “a lifetime” according to one US distributor and it also has greater aesthetic qualities than galvanised mesh.
- Galvanised mesh is a cheaper all-purpose mesh that has a limited lifespan dependent on application and proximity to coastal areas where salt may speed up the corrosion process.
- Plastic coated mesh falls somewhere between the stainless steel and galvanised options offering an increased lifespan over galvanised mesh but not normally as robust or as aesthetically pleasing as stainless steel mesh. The main advantage of plastic coated mesh is that it is often available in a variety of colours ensuring that it will blend in with the architecture and colour scheme of the building or site concerned. The main disadvantage of plastic coated mesh is that the added coating will increase the diameter of each strand of wire potentially making the product more visible.
Wire mesh for the purposes of excluding nuisance pigeons or birds is available in several different gauges ranging from 19 gauge through to 10 gauge. The finest gauge is 19 gauge which is an extremely malleable mesh that can easily be formed around architectural features by hand and can be cut with an ordinary pair of wire snips. The heaviest gauge that would be used in a bird proofing application is 10 gauge which is a heavy rigid mesh that will require 335mm (12”) wire cutters or an angle grinder to cut. For permanent installations under bridges and canopies, and where pigeons are the target species, a 10 gauge or 12 gauge is normally used.
The most common size of wire mesh used for general bird proofing applications is 25mm x 25mm (1” x 1”) as this sized mesh will exclude most pest species of bird. For gull and pigeon control 50mm x 50 mm (2” x 2”) mesh is more commonly used. Although the choice of mesh size is critical when installing nylon bird netting, when using wire mesh for bird proofing applications the choice will normally be 50mm x 50mm or 25mm x 25mm depending on the target species concerned.
When installing nylon bird netting an extremely complex suspension system is required but wire mesh is relatively straightforward to install based on its rigidity and the nature of the fixings required. Nylon bird netting will require a steel retaining wire to be installed to which the net is then attached via a variety of different fixings dictated by the fabric of the structure to which it is attached. A number of relatively expensive specialist tools will also be required to install both the retaining wire and the net itself. Wire mesh is normally fixed with a simple steel 19mm x 33mm (0.75” x 1.3”) ‘weldmesh’ clip with a 5mm (0.2”) hole that can be fitted to most materials. Wire mesh can be fitted directly to the fabric of the building or structure concerned by the use of weldmesh clips or a suspension system similar to those used for nylon bird netting.
Wire mesh is not discussed on the DEFRA website
The price of mesh products vary dramatically depending on whether the product is sourced from a netting manufacturer/wholesaler or from a pest control product retailer. The following prices are quoted by a leading supplier of pest control products in the UK for heavy duty mesh and fixings:
Weldmesh Galvanised steel mesh 25mm x 25mm (1” x 1”) 6 m x 0.9 m roll: £28.76
Weldmesh Galvanised steel mesh 50mm x 50mm (2” x 2”) 25 m x 0.9 m roll: £125.00
Weldmesh Galvanised steel mesh 50mm x 50mm (2” x 2”) 30 m x 0.9 m roll: £133.38
Weldmesh Galvanised fixing clips pack of 50: £20.25
To date we have been unable to find any user reviews for wire mesh but we will update this section as and when user reviews are made available to us. If you are able to provide a user review for wire mesh please contact the Pigeon Control Resource Centre.
Comments from the Manufacturer/Distributor:
One leading US supplier of wire mesh for bird and animal proofing said the following about the product:
- Unlimited uses, cuts to any size, mould to fit contours and shapes.
- Easy to install access control - uses common hardware.
- Effective and humane - safe to use anywhere.
- The Galvanized wire mesh is an economical barrier.
- The Stainless wire mesh can last a lifetime and looks great.
- Cuts to size with heavy shears or grinder cut-off wheels.
- Great for openings in attics, crawlspaces, eaves, etc.
- Stop animals/birds from getting through vents, chimneys, pipes, etc.
- Convenient 4ft x 100ft rolls for easy storage and portability.
A leading supplier of pest control products in the UK said the following about wire mesh for excluding nuisance pigeons or birds:
“Heavy gauge wire mesh with a square-shaped 25mm mesh for use against any bird species at any pressure level. Use to proof awkward entrances to voids where birds are perching, roosting or nesting. Use Weldmesh clips to secure the mesh to the structure being proofed. Can be cut with heavy gauge wire cutters or pliers. Simply cut to size and bend it in to shape.”
“Weldmesh is a rigid form of wire mesh netting made of square shaped meshes. It is easily cut using wire cutters and can be shaped to fit areas where other methods of proofing would not be suited.”
“Stainless steel weldmesh can also be supplied to special order.”
“Weldmesh is corrosion resistant, is simple to use, looks neat and professional. Weldmesh clips are used to secure the mesh to metal, stone, concrete or brick surfaces”
Wire mesh is a versatile and easy to use product that offers the property owner a further option when considering nuisance pigeon or bird exclusion products. Although nylon bird netting is undoubtedly the industry standard bird exclusion product due to its low visability and resultant aesthetic qualities when installed, wire mesh is an extremely good and often superior alternative for many applications.
Many of the problems associated with nylon bird netting, such as birds becoming trapped due to poor installation and/or lack of maintenance, are not an issue when using wire mesh, mainly due to the rigidity of the product. Wire mesh is also considerably easier to install than its nylon counterpart and requires no maintenance whatsoever. Although wire mesh may appear to be more expensive than nylon bird netting to purchase, once the cost of the special tools and fixings required to install nylon netting are taken into consideration, wire mesh is a more cost-effective option. Wire mesh can be installed by the property owner in most cases and the only tools required are wire snips and/or an angle grinder for the heavier gauges. The fixings required to install wire mesh are cheap and easy to install and are suitable for any application including stone, brick, metal, concrete or wood.
The problems associated with wire mesh as a bird exclusion product are limited to weight and higher visibility, making the product unsuitable for some applications, particularly where aesthetics are an issue. The product’s main application is for bird proofing the underside of bridges and canopies where aesthetics are not an issue and where a permanent and maintenance free installation is required. The main problem associated with the use of nylon bird netting for these applications is the need to regularly maintain the product. In order to do this specialist access equipment will be required. The cost of specialist access equipment of the type required to access the underside of a bridge or a canopy provided at height will be very considerable and this cost is over and above the cost of the maintenance itself. If nylon bird netting is provided in exposed areas and at height, regular maintenance will be required throughout the lifespan of the product. Wire mesh, once installed, will require no maintenance, will last much longer than nylon netting and will not entrap or entangle birds within it.
Wire mesh can also be used to great effect when protecting plant on roof areas where access is difficult. A box installation using wire mesh can be an extremely effective exclusion device particularly if a light gauge of mesh is chosen (such as a 19 gauge) and attached to a basic baton framework. This allows for the whole installation to be lifted off the plant as and when maintenance is required and then replaced. For larger mesh installations, or where a heavier gauge of mesh is used, access can be provided by installing a hinged ‘door’ in the mesh by using a special stainless steel ‘C’ clips. A hole of the desired size is cut out of the mesh box and a piece of mesh is then cut that will cover the hole and overlap by approximately 70mm-115mm (3”-5”). The mesh ‘door’ is then hinged to the mesh box by using ‘C’ clips or electrical cable ties. This simple adaption will allow quick and easy access to plant within the meshed area.
Wire mesh can be installed by using a suspension system identical to that which would be used to install nylon bird netting. A suspension system would normally only be used when protecting larger areas such as the underside of a bridge. Wire mesh would be attached to the retaining wire via hog rings (or stainless steel ‘C’ clips) in the same way that nylon net would be installed. In this application one of the major benefits of using wire mesh over nylon netting is that hinged trap-doors can be installed in the mesh, as described above. If a bird then becomes trapped behind the mesh the trap-door can be opened, allowing the bird to exit the meshed area, and then closed again maintaining the integrity of the installation. Although there are one-way devices that can be installed into nylon bird netting that are designed to allow trapped birds to exit the netted area, very few birds ever manage to find these exit points other than by accident.
There is no doubt that wire mesh will ever replace nylon bird netting as a nuisance pigeon or bird exclusion product, but it is certainly worth serious consideration should a DIY or maintenance-free installation be required. Longevity is another factor that should be considered when faced with installing a bird exclusion device. Both stainless steel and galvanised wire mesh will invariably last much longer than nylon bird netting and, in most cases, will offer a higher level of protection.
PDF on DEFRA website entitled: ‘Review of international research regarding the effectiveness of auditory bird scaring techniques and potential alternatives’. By J Bishop, H McKay, D Parrott and J Allan.
Also commonly known as:
Pigeon mesh, gull mesh, bird mesh, pigeon wire, gull wire, bird wire, galvanised bird mesh, stainless steel bird mesh, plastic coated mesh
Relevance to pigeon control:
For use in the bird control sector, wire mesh is a pigeon-specific exclusion product