How to Get Rid of Swallows (Control & Nest Removal TIPS)

It’s not too difficult to learn how to get rid of barn swallows, but actually getting rid of barn swallows can be tough. Swallows might be small, but they’re persistent, can be quite annoying, and can damage your home.

There are various types of swallows but the common swallows most people deal with are often called ‘barn swallows‘, ‘mud swallows‘, or ‘mud martins.’ There are larger swallows than barn swallows and closely related birds like swifts. Many barn swallow deterrent strategies can be used for swifts too but we will focus on swallows control in this article.

People often call barn swallows ‘mud swallows’, because they build their nests with muddy material. Unlike many birds that build their nests of straw, twigs, and grass, swallows use soft mud mixed with water and other items like hair, yarn, feathers, and grass. 

Barn swallows’ (mud swallows) nests are typically found in overhangs, beams, window jams, fixed awnings, garages, patio covers, gazebos, and ledges. They prefer to affix their nests to sturdy items like wood, stucco, and concrete. And swallows typically nest high where they won’t be bothered by people and predators.

barn swallow nest on house
Barn swallows can attach their nests to homes, sheds, barns, and other structures

Getting rid of swallow nests can damage whatever the nest is affixed to if you’re not careful. Additionally, in most states, it is against the law to remove nests before birds leave them. You can usually check about this with your local department of natural resources.

If you live in a state that prohibits removing swallow nests, you need to wait until they are gone. The best way to prevent this situation is to make sure that swallows don’t come around your property in the first place.

Swallows are small at 5 to 8 inches long and are slender. They are colorful and like any other bird, they are amazing to watch, but you want to take humane preventive measures to keep them from living in or around your home.

If you already have a nest on your home (or shed, deck, etc.), wait until the birds are finished as the damage is already done. You will need to repair the area they nested in after you remove the nest and take preventive measures to make sure they don’t come back.

Video explaining how to use bird spikes to keep swallows from buildings nests on your building

Here are some of the best techniques to use to keep them away. Using more than one is the most effective.

  • Keep away with taste with 4 the Birds: this is a liquid that can be sprayed heavily onto the surface you find them most often. This repellent can be sprayed on trees, beams, struts, overhangs, and other areas of your home without harming any animal or your home.
  • Use Barrier Eagle Eye Flash Flag: these bird deterrents are also environmentally friendly. They reflect sunlight, temporarily blinding swallows attempting to approach your home. Additionally, they make a sound that annoys swallows, helping to keep them away.
  • A rotating owl head: These deter all sorts of birds from coming near as they fear owls—one of their natural predators.
  • An ultrasonic repellent: The Ultra Sonic X or the Quad Baster Pro can be used to project ultrasonic sound signals around your home. Reviews are mixed on these.
  • Install bird netting: Place these in areas you feel swallows may try to build a nest on, including overhangs, garages, treehouses, patios, beams, or anywhere you see swallows roosting or perching on.
  • Irri tape: This is good swallow deterrent. It blinds swallows from getting closer to your property and creates noises that annoy swallows (and other birds).
  • DIY barn swallow deterrent: With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can tinker around and make your own swallow prevention methods. The video below might give you some ideas.
Video showing homemade method for getting rid of barn swallows

After using all of these deterrents you should not see swallows trying to nest on your property. If they already have built nests on your property, you should remove their old nests after their babies and repair any damage made.

Using a liquid spray in this area will prevent swallows from returning to that spot next year. If all else fails contact a wildlife specialist for assistance. They might try the same bird deterrents we suggested here to make swallows disappear. They may also have some other tips or tricks.

It is not just damage to your home (from where they nest) that swallows can cause. Swallow feces can also cause a strong, foul odor, and swallows can create a lot of noise at night when you’re trying to sleep.

As swallows fly around trying to make their nests around your home they might drop off many items that they chose for their nest into piping, vents, or gutters. In rare cases, this can block up gutters or even cause a fire.

Detering swallows from specific areas

How to prevent swallows from nesting on porches

Video explaining how to deter swallows from nesting on your porch

How to get rid of barn swallows on sheds

How to get rid of swallows in barns

How to get rid of swallows in your chimney

How to get rid of barn swallows on your porch

How to get rid of barn swallows in your garage

How to get rid of swallow nests

Sparrow feces can carry diseases (along with their nests). They carry at least 60 known diseases and if touched by your bare hand you could catch one of them.

It is best to use gloves when handling the old nests and clean up and feces around the home to prevent the diseases from getting any of your pets sick as well.

The odor can be overwhelming depending on the severity of your swallow problem and it is best to take the steps to get rid of the old nests as soon as they leave so they will never return. If you are concerned to do it yourself then call upon a wildlife expert that can remove it for you.

They will have all of the proper equipment to get the job done without spreading any diseases and they will be able to remove the bird droppings away from your home to prevent any diseases from spreading.

If you do have pets and a swallow problem then don’t let them out in the backyard until the swallow problem is gone. Take your dog for a walk rather than letting them roam near where the swallows live.

Video demonstrating how to remove swallows’ mud nests

Further barn swallow removal resources

  1. Swallows – Texas A&M
  2. Swallow Congregations: Dealing with a Common Problem – Texas Parks and Wildlife
  3. Nuisance Swallows – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Video explaining how to use BirdBarrier for swallows
Categorized as Swallows

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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