MONTPELIER, VT. >> The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding bird lovers to clean bird feeders regularly to help reduce the spread of disease.

Migratory bird Biologist John Buck says it is critical to clean birdfeeders at least once a month in order to prevent a buildup of harmful pathogens.

He says bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can spread quickly among wild birds and cause a number of diseases.

Buck recommends using a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water to kill bacteria. Hot water with unscented dish detergent also works well.

People should wear rubber gloves and remember to clean inside and outside surfaces. Buck says bottle brushes work well in tube feeders.