You’re probably familiar with the peck-peck-pecking noise that woodpeckers make, but perhaps you’re surprised to learn that woodpeckers don’t just pound away at tree trunks. In this article, we’ll talk about how to stop woodpeckers from pecking your house. We’ll also discuss why woodpeckers attack houses in the first place and what messages those pecking noises could be sending.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Do Woodpeckers Peck on Houses?
It’s one thing to put up with the noise of woodpeckers pecking on trees in your yard. It’s another thing entirely when you realize that noise is coming from your house.
But what causes woodpeckers to start pecking on houses? And why did they choose your house in particular?
The simple answer is, woodpeckers are naturally adapted to pecking on things. It’s what they do.
Because many houses have wood siding, woodpeckers may see them as an ideal place to find food or make nest holes. They don’t necessarily realize the house isn’t a tree, and even if they did, they don’t limit themselves to pecking on trees–they will peck anything made of wood.
Your friendly neighborhood woodpeckers may start pecking on your siding, doors, roofs, shutters, or any other wood components of the house–whatever happens to suit their needs on a given day.
Woodpeckers may peck on your house for several reasons, but it won’t necessarily be clear why they chose your house in particular. Perhaps you have a large number of tasty bugs living in your siding, or your house is a part of a territory they’ve claimed.
What Does It Mean When a Woodpecker is Pecking on Your House?
According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, a woodpecker’s pecking could mean one of several things. The bird may be:
- Claiming new territory
- Attracting a mate
- Making a hole for a nest
- Feeding on insects
- Putting food away to store
Regardless of why the birds are pecking on your house, it’s important to find a way to get rid of them before they start doing serious damage. But how do you do that?
Is There a Repellent for Woodpeckers?
The good news is, there are lots of ways to get rid of woodpeckers. One of the most common methods is to use a simple repellent.
There are few, if any, spray repellents that are specifically intended to keep woodpeckers away. Harsh pesticides are generally effective, but they are not the best option because they can create an unsafe environment around your home, possibly even killing woodpeckers and other wildlife.
You could try a simple generic pest repellent. These types of repellents use smelly substances such as putrescent egg solids, cloves, and garlic oil, all of which keep the birds and other pests from coming near your home.
Simply spray the repellent on your siding or door, or anywhere the woodpeckers are targeting. It may also help to spray the surrounding area as well so the birds don’t simply move to another part of the house.
You may also try a gel repellent, which you can apply to any surface where the birds like to perch. The sticky surface will be uncomfortable to them and will discourage them from landing again.
And, of course, if they don’t have a good place to land on or near your house, they won’t be able to peck on it.
You could also try using an insecticide that eliminates wood-boring insects. If you can get rid of the bugs that serve as a woodpecker’s major food source, the woodpeckers may go away on their own.
Smells that Repel Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers aren’t generally repelled by a lot of smells, but there are a few that may effectively chase them away.
Woodpeckers can’t stand the smell of garlic. You can make a garlic spray by crushing an entire garlic bulb, blending it with water or oil, and straining away the liquid.
Apply this garlic spray to the areas where woodpeckers are attacking your house. Alternatively, if you’re a gardener, you can plant garlic around the outside of your house to keep woodpeckers from coming in the first place.
Peppermint is another smell woodpeckers don’t like, and it may be preferable for use near your home since it smells better than garlic. You could try planting peppermint around your home, or mixing peppermint oil with water and spraying it directly onto your home.
What are Other Ways to Keep Woodpeckers from Pecking Your House?
Birds don’t like shiny things, and woodpeckers are no exception. Any object that moves around and catches the light scares them away.
There are many different products available that produce this effect. Some popular ones are reflective windmills, spiral rods, and tape.
If you’re on a budget, you could simply use any reflective items you have laying around your house. Old CDs or DVDs work great for this, as demonstrated in the video below.
Reflective objects are perhaps the best and most humane way to get rid of woodpeckers.
Sometimes setting up owl statues around your house will keep the birds away. These statues work in the same way a scarecrow does–by making the bird think that predators have moved into the territory.
In many cases, these simple statues will cause the woodpeckers to leave the area and stay away. Sometimes, though, they’ll get wise to the fact that the statues are not real and will eventually stop fearing them.
Bird spikes are a popular choice for keeping birds of all kinds from landing on their favorite perches. Bird spikes work somewhat like gel repellents in that they provide an uncomfortable place that the birds don’t want to land on.
By mounting bird spikes wherever the woodpeckers like to perch, you can potentially keep the birds from landing, which in turn will keep them from pecking on your house.
Ultrasonic deterrents produce high-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear but that are disturbing to some birds and animals. While they are not a cure-all for every kind of pest, they do seem to be effective at keeping away birds, including woodpeckers.
If you have woodpeckers pecking on your house, it’s important to find a way to deter them as soon as possible. The pecking can cause significant damage to your siding and other wood parts of your house.