A new red-hot weapon has been unveiled in the fight against problem birds.
The deterrent, developed by Rentokil Pest Control, contains chilli extract which sticks to birds' feet then gives them a spicy surprise when they tuck them up next to their genitals.
Developers hope the gel-like substance will turn up the heat on the fight against unwanted colonies of pigeons, gulls and other feathered pests with a humane and effective solution.
Large numbers of birds in urban areas can cause problems with fouling, and can spread diseases such as ornithosis, an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans and other mammals; and cryptococcosis, a potentially fatal fungal disease.
The new substance, called AviGo, contains a small amount of chilli pepper extract and is applied on surfaces where birds are known to land, allowing the active ingredient to transfer onto their feet. When they fly away and tuck their feet up next to their genitals, they experience a mild irritation and after a few visits, will not return.
Rentokil said AviGo solves the problem naturally and humanely and is almost invisible to the naked eye. It is made from 100% natural ingredients and only needs a maintenance inspection twice a year to replace any gel that may have worn off, the company said.
Developed in the US, it has been tested for its effectiveness in treating UK bird populations and Rentokil said it successfully removed 100% of the population within seven days of being applied.
Technical director Savvas Othon said: "AviGo is the hottest innovation for controlling pest populations of birds.
"It is humane, completely natural and next to invisible, making it ideal for public buildings, monuments and other tourist attractions which need to remain unspoilt. It is also easy for our technicians to apply, and is effective for up to a whole year.
"Species such as feral pigeons are intelligent and resourceful creatures, meaning they are well-equipped to live and breed in seemingly inhospitable urban environments. This treatment uses that intelligence, teaching the birds where not to land and nest without causing them harm."