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Most of the problems are caused by bird droppings and their nesting habits. Bird droppings are very acidic and if left to build up for long periods of time, for example on a roof, the acid can eat through the roofing material and cause small holes.
The same applies to air conditioning systems which are often mounted on the roof. Droppings on the machinery casings, if constant enough, can cause the same type of damage as on a roof. They also pose a health and safety hazard to the maintenance technician called to repair the damage.
Nest materials accumulating in a ceiling can be a fire hazard due to the nature of their composition i.e. dry twigs, hair, dead leaves and droppings. They are also a breeding ground for lice and fleas which find their way inside buildings through tiny crevices or cracks in the ceiling mouldings.
The lice and fleas immediately attach themselves to a human host and start biting resulting in an itchy skin which is very unpleasant. They can also carry a number of diseases.
The most common birds to nest in ceilings and cause problems are pigeons, starlings and sparrows. Trying to eradicate them with chemical treatments or trapping can be difficult, as new birds will find the nest sites and resettle there.