Stop the Drop with Goose Control

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To take back their turf from unwelcome "resident" Canada geese that can poop up to two pounds a day per bird, property owners near water are turning to a unique, EPA-approved goose repellent.

As more and more honking Canada geese move in, each weighing up to 14 lbs and leaving up to two pounds per day of messy droppings like "green grease" all over the yard, property owners near bodies of water have desperately searched for an effective, humane goose control method. The unwelcome bird is protected from harm by federal and state laws under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Now property owners are taking back their turf with a unique, EPA-approved form of goose control called Flight Control Plus that gets the birds to leave without harm, while preventing the "drop" of parasite-carrying feces, grass/lawn damage, and injuries caused by aggressive goose behavior.

The Fowl Invasion:
How did manicured lawns, rural crops and urban grassy areas near water become the adopted home of so many supposedly migrating geese, long known for their V-shaped flying pattern along seasonal flyways? And how did these birds multiply from mere hundreds a few decades ago to over 3.5 million, with a 15-fold increase in the number living in urban areas, recently?

Instead of flying south each fall and north each summer, braving predators along the way, the geese have found paradise and a permanent home in well kept lawns, yards, farms, parks, golf courses, and business areas near bodies of water. These offer abundant food, water and nesting opportunities with few predators. "It's a serious problem because the geese don't leave," says Greg Vetrick of TruGreen, the largest lawn and landscape company in North America. "When you are dealing with Canada Geese, there is lot of damage they can do, not to mention the droppings that are a nuisance and make some outdoor areas unusable."

With each Canada goose eating up to three pounds of grass per day, a small flock can quickly render lawns and grassy spaces unusable, leaving them stripped bare, prone to erosion, and covered with feces in the "drop zone". The costs of repairing overgrazed lawns and cleanup of goose droppings can be substantial. The nitrogen content in the droppings can contribute to excessive algae growth in ponds and lakes, causing local health authorities to close them.

Contact with goose droppings may also pose health risks. Not only can the goose droppings contain parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium parvum that may cause gastrointestinal illness, but also pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, which are toxic to the digestive system. Excessive droppings can also pose a slip hazard and aggressive geese, a liability hazard.

So how can the flock be effectively managed without harming the geese? There have been many attempts from fake coyotes and real dogs to strobe lights, sirens and noisemakers. But all fail to be truly effective because they're either too costly, unable to present a continuous deterrent, or offer a threat without consequence, which the geese soon learn to ignore.

The Geese "Move Out":
To protect their homes, farms and community areas from the problems of unwelcome "resident" geese, a growing number of property owners near bodies of water are taking back their turf with a unique, EPA-approved form of goose control called Flight Control Plus that gets the birds to leave without harm, while preventing messy parasite-carrying feces, costly grass/lawn damage, and injuries caused by aggressive goose behavior.

Unlike traditional scare tactics, this spray is the only product that effectively protects turf areas seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It works in two ways, first by sending a visual warning (geese see it, but humans don't), then by delivering a harmless, but effective gut reaction if they feed. It's odorless, weatherproof, and does the job without harming humans, vegetation or wildlife. It utilizes a naturally occurring, environmentally safe compound called anthranquinone (AQ) formulated by Arkion Life Sciences.

When sprayed on turf, the compound absorbs ultraviolet light, something the geese can see even though humans can't. This sends a visual warning signal to the geese that something is wrong with their food.

When the geese sample treated turf they experience a harmless, effective digestive irritation, reinforcing the message that there's something wrong with the food. The combined effect teaches geese to recognize and avoid grassy areas treated with the compound. The geese "move out" in search of a better food source.

"In our area people are very sensitive to the wildlife," claims Jim Stiles of Eden Pest Services in Seattle, Washington. "Homeowners don't want these birds harmed even if they are a nuisance. We have to have non lethal alternatives."

In contrast, geese cannot distinguish between the treated and untreated turf of other sprayable repellents, such as those made from methyl anthranilate (MA), so they will not learn to avoid it. Sprayable repellents such as MA also tend to be short-lived since they're volatile, not rain fast and degrade due to ultraviolet radiation and microbial activity. "We have tried on other products but we did not get the results," adds Stiles. "This gives us a complete success."

Grassy areas are typically treated several times a year with FlightControl to warn off geese familiar with it and to teach new ones to stay away. It can also be used like a "biological fence" to herd geese off the areas property owners don't want them.

In summer, it is typically used to treat "drop zones" to keep any new or returning geese from becoming permanent residents. In fall/early winter, it's used to prevent geese from feeding while grass is dormant. In late winter/early spring, it's used before the geese select a nesting site to keep them from raising young on site. In late spring, it's used as goose control to keep them off property owner-designated "no tolerance zones," where any geese may be nesting.

For more info, contact Becky Price, Arkion Life Sciences, Airepel Division 551 Mews Drive, Suite J, New Castle, DE 19720; Email bprice @ arkionls.com; call 877-55-GEESE; Fax 302-655-3546; or visit http://www.flightcontrol.com.

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HEATHER METCALFE

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