Flies can be pesky little things that gather around the roof inside a polytunnel and in the pleats on the ends – they are tempted in by the warmth and smells of a polytunnel full of growing crops.
What can be even more pesky, however, is if birds spot insects on the inside of the polythene cover. Birds may land on the polytunnel hoops or ridge and peck at the insects they can see inside, causing small star-shaped holes in the polythene cover.
Small holes made by birds pecking the polythene should not cause any problems, but should be quickly and easily repaired with polythene repair tape
to prevent the wind from catching the polytunnel cover and possibly causing further damage.
Stopping birds pecking on polytunnel
So, how can you deter birds from pecking holes in your polytunnel? We’ve seen a number of different methods used over the years and we’ve listed some ideas below for you to try:
A popular method to stop birds making holes in a polytunnel is to deal with the insects before the birds have chance to. Some polytunnel gardeners use yellow sticky insect traps inside the tunnel to catch flies that gather in the roof. However, not everyone likes this method as the sticky traps could catch some of the good pests that help to tackle the flies or the pollinators that you want to welcome into your polytunnel.
It is not uncommon for growers to introduce predatory insects, such as ladybirds and hoverflies, into their polytunnels. These beneficial insects, or ‘good bugs’ as we like to call them, can be attracted by particular herbs and plants or you can even buy them online and introduce them into your polytunnel.
You can camouflage any insects gathered in the roof by stretching a narrow piece of netting over the top of your polytunnel – this use of netting can also help to deter the birds from landing on the polytunnel roof. We have some great garden nets available
, suitable to do this job, including an anti bird netting
which is a strong, knitted net with mesh holes of 20mm, preventing small birds from becoming tangled in the net, and which keeps shading to a minimum.
We have seen some polytunnels with bird scarers installed to prevent birds from landing on the roof. We’ve seen tall canes pressed into the ground at each end or short timber struts attached to the door frames, both of which protrude slightly beyond the top of the polytunnel – straining wire, garden wire or string is then fixed along the length of the tunnel between these canes or timbers at each end. If enough lengths of wire or string are used, this prevents birds from landing on the top of the polytunnel.
Some gardeners choose to fix something shiny to the wire or string, such as CDs or tinfoil, as it is known that birds don’t like the flashes of sunlight reflecting off moving surfaces.
Another idea is to use visual bird scarers in your garden and polytunnel, such as a tethered hawk kite or decoy falcon or owl, to frighten off the smaller birds.
Finally, you could try a simple scarecrow and with a bit of luck, this will keep the birds away from your polytunnel and crops.