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How to Deal With Woodpeckers

Did you know that damage caused by woodpeckers may not be covered by your homeowners insurance?! Woodpeckers, left unchecked, can cause serious damage, making holes in the siding which creates an expressway for termites, carpenter bees, rats, and many other pests to enter your home.

Knowing why woodpeckers knock, how to successfully repel them, and how to seal up the existing damage is key to keeping your house in tip-top shape for years to come.

Why do woodpeckers knock on houses?

They usually do this for one of four reasons:

  • Territory – Woodpeckers declare their territory through loud knocks, which they use to attract mates. Housing exteriors make a loud, gratifying noise putting your house more at risk during the spring breeding season. Once foraging season begins, their knocking becomes less territorial and more about finding food, which puts your house at a higher risk for damage.
  • Nesting – During the beginning of breeding season, between April and May, woodpeckers are looking for good nesting or roosting spots. They will excavate large, round holes for roosting as opposed to the small, deep holes made while foraging for insects.
  • Food Storage – Some of these birds are obsessed with storing their food, especially Acorn Woodpeckers which will hammer hundreds of holes into large trees or houses to store fresh acorns.
  • Feeding – When foraging for insects and larvae, woodpeckers drill small, jagged holes in a somewhat straight line. If there are insects living in the siding of your home, you may need to investigate and remove an underlying insect infestation. Woodpeckers often forage for bee and beetle larvae, worms, and ants. These holes can not only damage your home, but create entry points for pests such as insects and mice to infiltrate.

How do you get rid of woodpeckers?

Start by identifying what type of woodpecker  you are dealing with, there are different types all around the world – and what works for one type won’t work for others. It is also important to check your house for damage so you know what kind of repairs to make before the problem worsens. There are many different ways you can get rid of woodpeckers, and ways you can prevent them from even becoming a problem.

Note: All woodpeckers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act , it is illegal to remove or damage eggs from an established nest. You will want to remove them humanely from your home before or after the nesting season.

Need some help? We’re available by phone at 1-800-657-8214 , via live chat, and email!

Visual Deterrents
These vary from decoy hawks, to reflective scare-balloons and flashy tape. These are the best for your budget, and in some cases have been the most successful in scaring off the woodpeckers.
Electronic Repellents
These repellents work by emitting various sounds and distress calls that trigger a flight response in birds, forcing them to find other areas to feed or roost.

How to Prevent Woodpecker Issues

Remove trees or prune branches in areas where they might be prone to peck. Leaving your yard sparse of trees will make the woodpeckers feel more exposed, discouraging them from making this their home.

Paint wood siding, a Cornell University study  found that stained-wood houses were more prone to woodpecker damage than painted wood. You can also build with construction materials that do not attract these birds, especially when living in wooded areas (clapboard and non-wood siding are best).

Redirect Woodpeckers

This involves redirecting the bird’s attention by placing food sources and nesting boxes in the vicinity of the damage. This discourages woodpeckers from using your home as a roost or drumming on the house.

If you feel like this problem has gotten out of hand, or you have already tried these methods to no avail, then you will most likely need to contact your local fish and wildlife services – or a pest control professional – to inspect your home to see what else can be done to remove the woodpeckers.


If you are still wondering what might work to get rid of woodpeckers in your situation, or you just don’t know where to begin, feel free to contact us by phone at 1-800-657-8214 , live chat, or email and we will be more than happy to help!

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