There are over 200 different species of woodpeckers worldwide, and approximately 23 of those can be found in the United States. Installing the right woodpecker control products can prevent major property damage. Woodpeckers (order Piciformes and family Picidae) peck holes in trees and buildings to excavate nesting holes, find or store food, and to attract mates. Once the pecking starts, you’ve got to act fast and choose the right bird deterrents and repellents to get rid of pest woodpeckers.
Woodpecker control can be tricky because this species is protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act as well as under state law in many areas. Whether you are a bird control professional or a homeowner grappling with a woodpecker problem, Bird Barrier is here to help. We offer a variety of effective, humane woodpecker repellents and deterrents that will help you get rid of woodpeckers that are causing property damage.
Learn how to get rid of woodpeckers using the one-two punch of Optical Gel and The Intimidator visual bird deterrent.
The bird’s pecking (also called drumming or drilling) commonly damages buildings (wood siding, shingles, trim, and eaves are at particular risk), telephone poles, and fences.
Woodpeckers also damage fruit and nut trees, leading to losses for family farms and commercial orchards.
Because they are a forest dwelling bird, woodpeckers prefer to drill holes in wood (they especially love pecking cedar siding) but can also damage stucco, Dryvit, and other building materials.
Not all woodpecker problems involve property damage. The sound of woodpecker drumming can also be quite a nuisance, especially in the early morning when people are trying to sleep.
Note: Even when bird control methods are successful in repelling pest birds from a site, they may return in future seasons. Repeat applications of woodpecker control products may be necessary. Any site that has been treated with woodpecker products should be monitored for new activity. Immediate action should be taken as soon as new damage is found.
How to Scare Away Woodpeckers with Audio & Visuals Deterrents
With the right woodpecker control products and techniques, professional installers and property owners can prevent further damage by getting rid of woodpeckers. At Bird Barrier, we’re here to help you find the right approach to the specific woodpecker problems at a site. For most situations, the most effective woodpecker control solutions include:
Control Products for Repelling Woodpeckers from Open Spaces
Optical Gel · Audio/Visual Scare Deterrents
Products for Excluding Woodpeckers from Enclosed Areas
3/4″ StealthNet® Bird Netting · Bird Netting: The Most Effective Woodpecker Deterrent
Total exclusion controls pest woodpeckers! The most effective woodpecker control product for keeping the birds out of buildings, barns, sheds, and other enclosed spaces is StealthNet® Bird Netting. Install ¾” StealthNet to create an impenetrable barrier that will keep woodpeckers away from a structure. Leave the bird netting in place long enough to permanently modify the pest woodpecker’s behavior.
StealthNet is one of the best woodpecker deterrents available for protecting wood siding (even underneath the eaves of a home–a common spot for woodpecker damage). Bird netting is a nearly invisible and totally humane solution for woodpecker problems.
If you have tried other methods of woodpecker control and continue to see damage from returning birds, StealthNet is the ultimate solution. Installing bird netting from roof edge to the ground is the most effective way to prevent woodpeckers from making contact with a structure. If a property owner does not wish to install StealthNet across the entire structure, we recommend the use of Optical Gel.
Optical Gel: A Multi-Sensory Woodpecker Repellent
Optical Gel multi-sensory bird deterrent can be installed on vertical surfaces to deter woodpeckers from the building. Install one dish above and one below any woodpecker hole found on a structure. Pest birds typically leave immediately and rarely return after Optical Gel applications.
Optical Gel repels birds safely by offending their senses of smell, touch, and sight. The product smells like peppermint, which birds hate. It repels them visually by putting off ultraviolet light that appears to birds as flame or smoke (even though we humans cannot see it). If the woodpecker gets close enough to touch Opti-Gel it will be repelled by the stickiness (woodpeckers don’t like their feet touching sticky substances).
Placing dishes of Optical Gel above and below a woodpecker hole will deter even the most determined bird from causing additional damage. Using Optical Gel at every woodpecker hole on a structure, can get rid of the birds completely. Once the woodpeckers are gone, make sure to fill and paint over the holes.
Visual deterrents frighten off pest woodpeckers with flashing lights, moving objects, and shapes that resemble natural dangers. To effectively deter woodpeckers, scaring devices should be hung as close as possible to the spot where drilling is taking place.
Loud noises frighten woodpeckers away and if used correctly and consistently, may get rid of pest birds completely. Audio deterrents emit loud noises, distress signals, or predator calls that signal danger to woodpeckers.
Woodpeckers that have established a site as their home territory will be much harder to scare off. Visual and audio frightening devices must be installed as soon as a woodpecker problem begins in order to be effective. If the woodpecker is territorial and persists in returning despite the audio or visual scare device, another control method, such as bird netting will need to be installed to effectively remove the pest bird from the site.
How to Use Our Woodpecker Control Products
If you need expert guidance when choosing woodpecker pest control products, Bird Barrier’s expert staff is here to help. Give us a call or send us an email to learn more about our woodpecker repellents and deterrents or get a referral for a bird control professional in your local area. We’ll provide customized support on how to plan, order, and install any bird control system we offer.
Drumming and Drilling Behavior
Woodpeckers typically drum for one of the following reasons:
- The drumming sound is used to attract a mate.
- They are digging a hole to build a nest in.
- They are digging a hole looking for wood boring insects to eat.
Most woodpecker problems happen during woodpecker breeding season, which happens in early spring. Sometime in the months between February through June (depending on your local climate) woodpeckers will begin drilling nesting and roosting cavities. Most of the damage you’ll see during the springtime mating season will be caused by only one or two woodpeckers.
Woodpecker Habitat, Diet, Nesting, and Breeding Patterns
The woodpecker is most commonly found in wooded regions of the country, where they can cause damage to the exterior of wooden buildings and houses. The woodpecker's body is designed to thrive in a woodland habitat—they can easily cling to tree trunks and branches while pecking for food (which is unfortunately why they are so good at clinging to wood siding, telephone poles, and other structures they commonly cause damage to).
Woodpeckers primarily feed on tree living or wood-boring insects using their strong beak and long tongue to dislodge food. Some members of the woodpecker family (Flickers) feed on insects of the ground, while others prefer native berries, fruits, and nuts.
Because they require trees for food and shelter, woodpeckers select nesting sites near wooded regions. These birds use their strong beak to bore holes into tree limbs or trunks when carving out a place to live. They prefer to live in dead trees and show a tendency to build on the side of the structure that receives the early morning light and warmth from the rising sun. The loss of old growth trees has accelerated their use of manmade structures for homes, such as wooden fence posts, utility poles, and buildings.
Woodpeckers breed in the spring, commonly laying 2 to 8 dull white or glossy eggs. The incubation period lasts from 11 to 14 days and maybe longer for larger woodpeckers. They typically have 2 broods per year with some species bearing eggs 3 times per year. Eggs are watched over by both parents during incubation.
Very few species of woodpeckers are migratory, although some show movement southward in winter. Other species of woodpecker have been known to migrate from higher elevations in the mountains to warmer lower valleys when the weather turns cold. However, for most woodpeckers, cold weather is not a problem because of the availability of their food supply under bark or in dead or rotted wood where it is out of reach of most birds.