Are you being disrupted at home by the constant drumming of a persistent woodpecker? These beautiful but destructive birds are fun to watch, but they can cause serious damage to your home and surrounding trees.
Worse still, their presence may indicate the presence of other pests, including insects like carpenter bees and termites.
Are you wondering how to get rid of woodpeckers and prevent them from returning? In today’s article, we are going to cover why you may have woodpeckers on your property, how to control them and keep them from causing damage, and how to prevent a woodpecker infestation from occurring again in the future.
What Are Woodpeckers?
Woodpeckers are a type of bird known for pecking trees to get insects and attract mates.
Woodpeckers are a type of bird found all over the world. There are about 280 different species of woodpecker throughout the world, with over 17 species of woodpecker in the United States.
Some of the most common woodpeckers in the United States that you may come across include:
- The Hairy Woodpecker
- The Red-Headed Woodpecker
- The Pileated Woodpecker
- The Downy Woodpecker
- And the Northern Flicker
Each species of woodpecker can look quite different, but there are a few ways you can identify a woodpecker from another bird on your property.
Most woodpeckers are brightly colored, often feathered in red, white, yellow, and black with different patches of colored feathers around their necks and heads. Woodpeckers usually have longer bills than their other flying counterparts as well.
A woodpecker’s bill is used for a few different purposes, but primarily the bill helps him find food in trees and in the ground. Woodpeckers are omnivores, consuming both meat and plant material. Their primary diet consists of insects, but they also eat seeds, fruits, berries, nuts and tree sap.
Wondering what else woodpeckers use their bills for? Another of the main reasons homeowners try and figure out how to get rid of woodpeckers is due to their incessant pecking.These birds peck against wood materials like trees and the sidings of our homes to nest, attract mates, establish their territory, and to find food, as we mentioned above.
While woodpeckers are beneficial birds that are undeniably beautiful and entertaining to watch, they can also cause a lot of damage to your home and the trees on your property.
Let’s take a look at a few telltale signs you may notice if you have a naughty woodpecker causing damage on your property.
Woodpecker Damage – How To Recognize A Woodpecker Problem
Woodpecker damage leaves lines of round holes, as seen in this above image.
As we mentioned above, woodpeckers can cause some serious damage. Their pecking can lead to damaged and dying trees in your yard and they often nest and peck at the wooden sidings of your home. Are you wondering if you have a woodpecker problem on your property?
Some of the most common signs of a woodpecker problem in your yard include:
- Deep lines or round holes in wood sidings on homes or tree trunks and tree limbs
- Loud pecking or drumming noises, especially during spring
- Decaying wood, fungi, or diseased looking trees
- Dead tree limbs
- Leaking sap from trees
Usually, one or two woodpeckers on your property is more entertaining than problematic, especially if you use some of the below methods we’ll mention shortly to help keep them away from your home and certain trees.
However, sometimes woodpeckers can get out of control and homeowners have experienced woodpecker infestations on their property that can lead to property and tree damage.
Not only that, but don’t forget that having a large number of woodpeckers on your property could also be a sign of an insect infestation as well. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the most common methods for how to get rid of woodpeckers.
How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers – Most Popular Methods
Woodpeckers are protected, so you must be careful with the methods you use to get rid of them.
Most of us enjoy watching beneficial wildlife like woodpeckers and other beautiful birds flutter around our property. However, we don’t enjoy subsequent problems like holes in the sidings of our home and as well as dealing with damaged and dying trees.
That said, when it comes to trying to figure out how to get rid of woodpeckers, it’s important to note that these birds are protected. You cannot harm woodpeckers, which means you can’t shoot them, poison them, or trap them to get them to go away. But luckily you don’t have to.
There are several non-lethal, bird-friendly methods you can use to not only repel woodpeckers, but to also redirect them so you can still enjoy them without having to deal with the damage they may cause.
Some of the most popular methods for how to get rid of woodpeckers on your property include:
- Commercial Bird Repellents And Deterrents
- Home Remedies
Commercial Repellents And Deterrents
There are a number of commercial bird repellents you can buy that contain non-lethal toxins called anthraquinone and methyl anthranilate to help repel woodpeckers. These toxins don’t kill woodpeckers or other birds, but they do repel them by causing the birds not to feel well when they ingest the toxins.
Some professionals also recommend deterrent paint to help get rid of woodpeckers. These repellent paints can be a helpful way to protect your trees and your home from a woodpecker’s sharp bill.
Other repellents and deterrents for how to get rid of woodpeckers include ultrasonic devices that use sound frequencies that irritate the birds. You can also use nesting spikes, bird mesh, and other items to protect your property and trees from these pretty yet pesky creatures.
There are plenty of home remedies you can use that work well for how to get rid of woodpeckers and redirect them from boring holes into your home and trees.
We like home remedies because they are usually natural, harm-free, and allow you to still enjoy the benefits of having woodpeckers around. We will list some of our favorite home remedies as recommended by experts for how to get rid of woodpeckers further down.
If you have a severe woodpecker problem on your property and have noticed a number of dying trees and damage done to your home, it may be time to call in the pros.
Most professional pest control experts have effective ways of evicting not only the woodpeckers that are causing the damage, but also whatever insect has likely attracted them to your property in the first place.
This Video Further Discusses The Above Methods Of How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers
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How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers – Best Bird Repellents
Repellents are a safe and humane way to get rid of woodpeckers.
As we mentioned above, some of the best methods for how to get rid of woodpeckers include commercial repellents that will not harm them but will help deter them from certain trees or from pecking holes in your home’s wooden siding.
We have listed some of our favorite bird repellents that work for how to get rid of woodpeckers below. Take a look.
Bird-X Liquid Bird Repellent
As we mentioned above, this bird repellent by Bird-X uses a biodegradable chemical that will help repel woodpeckers and other birds from pecking or nesting on your property or surrounding trees.
While this product is safe and humane, keep in mind that it uses a chemical to repel woodpeckers and should only be used as directed and kept out of reach of children and pets.
Ultrasonic Bird Repellent
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We like ultrasonic repellents for how to get rid of woodpeckers because they are harm-free, safe for the environment, and also help to repel other pesky animals like snakes, groundhogs, moles, voles, and more.
The ultrasonic bird repellent above uses sound vibrations that humans can’t hear which irritate and repel unwanted woodpeckers and other animals from entering onto your property.
However, this repellent also irritates dogs and cats, so if you have pets in the home this may not be the best product for you.
Bird-X Electronic Bird Repeller
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This bird repeller above is specifically designed to repel birds like woodpeckers and sparrows. We like it for how to get rid of woodpeckers because it is safe and harm free, it won’t hurt or annoy your pets, and it focuses on keeping woodpeckers off of your property.
This is especially ideal for those dealing with a large woodpecker problem or lots of woodpecker damage to the property. It works by emitting bird calls and predator calls that scare woodpeckers away and keep them from returning.
Bird Proof Repellent Gel
We also recommend this bird repellent gel by Bird X for how to get rid of woodpeckers. You can use it along sidings or anywhere you have noticed lots of woodpecker activity. This is a great product for spot treating areas around your property where you want to reduce woodpecker activity and keep them from pecking or nesting.
This repellent is non-toxic, transparent, and works to repel sparrows, woodpeckers, and pigeons.
Critter Ridder Animal Repellent
Though Safer Brand Critter Ridder spray does not specify that it works for how to get rid of woodpeckers, we have included it because it contains the repellent chemicals that repel woodpeckers and redirect them to other areas of your yard so they won’t cause damage.
This should be used as directed and kept out of reach of children, although it is safe to use around people and is harm-free to woodpeckers and other animals .
How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers – The Best Bird Deterrents
Deterrents will help keep woodpeckers from nesting and pecking on your property.
Deterrents work well for how to get rid of woodpeckers because they use a woodpecker’s natural fear instinct to avoid trees and properties. We like deterrents because they can protect certain areas of your home and around your property while still allowing woodpeckers to stay on your property in areas where you may want them to be.
We have listed some of our favorite deterrents for how to get rid of woodpeckers for you below.
Bird B Gone Woodpecker Deterrent
This product is a harm-free way to deter woodpeckers without the use of chemicals. It uses visual repellents that you can hang in the trees on your property that will frighten woodpeckers and keep them from coming around your home.
These repellents are reflective and brightly colored, which will encourage woodpeckers to choose a different spot to do their pecking.
Monarchy Solutions Woodpecker Deterrent
Another method you can use for how to get rid of woodpeckers is by hanging reflective deterrents.
You can opt to use your own home methods, as we will discuss further down, or you can purchase these products which are designed to easily hang in your trees and around your home to help keep woodpeckers from causing damage.
The above deterrents are safe, harm-free, and will also help deter other birds like pigeons, geese, herons, and ducks.
Owl Decoy Woodpecker Deterrent
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get rid of woodpeckers on your property is to set up a few predator decoys, like the above owl figurine sold by Gardaner. This decoy works to repel a number of critters you don’t want hanging around your property from voles, moles, and groundhogs to woodpeckers, ducks and rabbits.
We recommend purchasing one or two of these decoys to and placing them in clear view or wherever you want to keep woodpeckers from causing damage.
Bird-X Bird Spikes
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Bird spikes are a popular and very common method many use for how to get rid of woodpeckers and other birds like pigeons and swallows. Bird spikes do not harm woodpeckers but they also do not allow woodpeckers to land, which in turn keeps them from causing damage.
These spikes are best used around your home and will provide 10 feet of protection where they are placed.
De-Bird Reflective Scare Tape
Finally, we have reflective scare tape. This is a common and simple method for how to get rid of woodpeckers and keep them from destroying your trees and property. The above order includes 125 feet of scare tape that is made with a reflective surface.
You can place this tape wherever you need to in order to keep woodpeckers from pecking and nesting. This is a water-resistant tape that is meant specifically for home protection, and works against woodpeckers, pigeons, and other birds.
How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers Using Home Remedies
Offering woodpeckers a meal will help redirect them from causing damage to trees.
Since the easiest way to handle a woodpecker problem is to manage and control where they peck and nest, some of the best home remedies involve diversions, distractions and scare tactics.
In fact, did you know that one of the best ways to handle a woodpecker problem is to actually install woodpecker friendly objects like birdhouses and feeders onto your property?
While this may seem counterproductive, the truth is that woodpeckers are usually causing damage because they are seeking meals. If you rid your home and trees of the insects they are trying to eat and then offer them other, more yummy things to dine on elsewhere, you’ll not only stop the woodpecker damage, but also be able to still enjoy the woodpeckers from a distance.
Wondering how to get rid of woodpeckers using the above methods and home remedies? You’re in luck. There are plenty of natural, safe, and humane home remedies you can use to repel, redirect, or completely deter woodpeckers from your property all together.
Some of our favorite home remedies for how to get rid of woodpeckers are listed below:
- Add A Suet Feeder
Suet is a substance made of vegetable or animal fat that is highly attractive to woodpeckers. If you have a woodpecker problem in your yard, you can hang suet feeders away from trees and your property. This will entice them away from your trees and home and keep them feeding elsewhere.
- Offer Woodpecker-Friendly Birdhouses
Remember, woodpeckers are often attracted to your property because they are looking for food. Most often, that food is insects. However, one thing woodpeckers like more than bugs are easy food sources they don’t have to dig out of wood, like seeds and nuts. If you install a woodpecker-friendly birdhouse away from trees and property, the woodpeckers are much more likely to hang out there.
- Plant Woodpecker-Attracting Plants Away From Your Home
Be careful where you garden, especially if you don’t want woodpeckers hanging around. Woodpeckers are attracted to berries, fruits, and other sweet plants, so if you garden near your home with any of those types of plants, you could be inviting woodpeckers.
Luckily, you can use this to your advantage and plant woodpecker-attracting plants away from your property and the trees you want to protect to help redirect them.
- String Up Balloons
Along with using some of the above tactics for how to get rid of woodpeckers, you can also string up a few balloons. Some people even go as far as to draw eyes on balloons or make them look like owls or humans. When the balloons move in the wind, the woodpeckers will be frightened away.
However, one downside to using balloons is they won’t last long and can be harmful to the environment if they accidentally float away.
- Hang Up Home Reflective Devices
We already know woodpeckers are frightened by reflective objects, and we humans have plenty of reflective objects in our homes. You can use anything from aluminum foil to old CD’s to pocket mirrors. Just hang up reflexive items around your home and the trees you want to protect to help keep woodpeckers from causing damage.
How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers – When To Call A Professional
Some of the most effective deterrents include predator decoys.
If you have a very large woodpecker problem, you may also have a very large insect problem. Oftentimes, a large number of woodpeckers are just a symptom of other pests like carpenter ants, termites, and carpenter bees.
For large woodpecker infestations, professionals may be needed to help not only get rid of the birds, but also uncover the underlying issue. Luckily, most local pest control experts are well versed in how to get rid of woodpeckers safely and humanely, and will be able to help guide you on your next steps for insect control.
Fast Facts – What You Should Know About Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers may be causing problems around your home and nearby trees, but these birds are highly beneficial, beautiful, and interesting.
Here are a few interesting facts about woodpeckers you may not have known.
- Some Woodpeckers don’t migrate and are active all year round.
This may not be the best news for those of you looking for how to get rid of woodpeckers, as you now know you may not be able to simply wait them out. That said, most woodpeckers are more active and loud during mating season, so at least you shouldn’t have to deal with as much constant drumming all year long.
- Woodpeckers Are Noisiest During Mating Season
As we mentioned above, woodpeckers use their bills to attract mates and are loudest during mating season, which is around April and May.
- The Downy Woodpecker Is The Most Common Pesky Woodpecker In North America
Downy woodpeckers are small and have smaller bills than their other woodpecker counterparts. In fact, to those who don’t know, you may see one and not realize it is a woodpecker at all. This cute little bird has black wings, a white spotted belly, and a red tuft of feathers on top of his head.
All that obnoxious pecking and racket? It’s probably caused by this little guy.
- Woodpeckers Can Drum Up To 20 Times A Second
This means that one little woodpecker can peck as many as 10,00 to 12,000 times a day. No wonder you are wondering how to get rid of woodpeckers on your property!
- Woodpeckers Have Special Pockets In Their Skulls To Protect Their Brains
Just watching a woodpecker peck can give you whiplash, but did you know these birds are protected by natural air pockets in their skull? These pockets work like tiny little airbags to cushion the brain and keep woodpeckers totally safe while they peck away at hard surfaces.
How To Prevent Future Woodpecker Problems
Prevent woodpeckers by offering them more attractive places to go outside of your property.
Once you’ve managed to figure out how to get rid of woodpeckers, you’ll want to move on to some preventative methods to keep them from returning to cause more damage.
Below are some of the best methods you can use to prevent woodpeckers from becoming a problem again in the future.
- Follow Through With Pest Control
Remember, a woodpecker problem may be a sign of an insect problem. Use natural repellents often to keep your home, yard, and garden free of insects that woodpeckers feed on.
- Paint your home with bird-repellent finishing
Woodpeckers prefer raw, unfinished wood. There are special paints you can buy to finish the wood sidings on your home to help repel woodpeckers and prevent them from causing damage.
- Fill old holes from woodpeckers, termites, carpenter bees, and carpenter ants
Old holes caused by other wood-infesting pests can attract woodpeckers. Fill these holes when you find them to help keep woodpeckers from coming back around.
- Remove dead or dying trees
Dead and dying trees can attract all kinds of insects, which can in turn attract woodpeckers. You can help reduce these pests by maintaining good landscaping and removing dead tree limbs or diseased and dying trees.
- Leave predator decoys around your home
Keep predator decoys up all year round. Keep in mind that some woodpeckers do not migrate so keeping these decoys up no matter the season will help protect your home and property.
And remember, woodpeckers are protected and it is illegal to kill or trap them without a license. If you are having a serious woodpecker problem on your property and need to know how to get rid of woodpeckers fast, contacting a professional may be your best bet.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.