The Best Woodpecker Repellent for Keeping Them Away from Your Home

woodpecker hanging on house wall with holes in it

If a woodpecker starts pecking at the structure of your home, they can cause a costly amount of damage. Learn about woodpecker repellent and our experts’ best strategies to protect your Alabama home from woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers 101

To protect your home from woodpeckers, it’s good to understand a woodpecker’s habits and behaviors.

Why Woodpeckers Peck 

When you hear a woodpecker knocking at a tree, do you know what they’re doing? If your first guess is looking for food, you’d be partially correct. There are actually quite a few reasons: for sustenance, shelter, and mating. We’ll elaborate on each of these in the following sections.

Hunting and Gathering Food

The diet of these noisy birds largely depends on their species. Of the nine species of woodpeckers in Alabama, the majority consume a variety of small insects and arachnids; however, two of these species are a bit pickier: the Northern Flicker and the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. 

As the name suggests, the Sapsucker primarily eats tree sap (with a mix of tiny insects and berries). The Flicker tends to eat ants at any stage of their life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, or imago). 

The Flicker is unique due to how they catch their dinner. Since Flickers eat ants, they hunt where their prey builds their colonies: in beds and nests above and underground. The rest of the woodpecker species seek sustenance by pecking at trees and drilling into them.

Creating a Shelter

Another reason that woodpeckers drill and peck into trees or wooded structures is because they’re making a nest to live in. The nest holes that woodpeckers excavate for shelter in the springtime are much larger than those they excavate for any other reason—and tend to cause the most damage. 

Attracting Mates

The percussive drumming of a woodpecker’s pecking isn’t just a byproduct of their other behaviors but an intentional performance to attract mates and assert dominance over their territory. This drumming performance is not damaging like other pecking behaviors, since they’re not aiming to chip away at wood.

Woodpecker Repellent and Prevention Methods

You need to implement effective prevention strategies to ensure that woodpeckers do not mistake the wood on your property or house as suitable targets for the aforementioned behaviors.

Cover or Replace Wood

Since woodpeckers are looking for wood, you can prevent them from damaging wood on or around your property by covering or replacing it with different material, like vinyl or aluminum. The change in material might not stop woodpeckers from drumming on it to attract a mate, but as we mentioned earlier, they won’t cause the same damage as other behaviors.  

Plant a Predator Decoy or Reflective Streamers

Much like how farmers put up scarecrows, you can try scaring away woodpeckers with a decoy resembling a predator, like a cat. You could also try a decoy of a larger bird (for example, a plastic owl) that the woodpecker will avoid, which will indicate to them that the territory has already been claimed.

A similar type of deterrent includes streamers made of reflective material, which, when blowing in the wind, effectively scare woodpeckers away.

Caution Them With a Sound Machine

Another method for deterring woodpeckers is investing in a sound machine specifically designed to trick them into thinking that danger is nearby. These woodpecker sound systems mimic the call of a hawk and frightened woodpeckers to warn the real woodpeckers to stay away!

Plug Holes

If woodpeckers create holes in the wooden siding of your home one season, they’ll recognize them when they return the following season. Plug up the woodpecker’s damage with a material like wood putty to discourage further pecking next year!

When to Call Pest Control

If you try these methods of woodpecker repellent to no avail, or if you need assistance, we’ll be glad to help you troubleshoot the problem over the phone or come to your home and implement an effective solution.

At Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, we have proudly served Alabama families since 1965, and we would love to help yours, too! Call us at 205-663-4200 or contact us online to learn more about our affordable, effective pest control solutions.

Thanks for reading! Check out our pest blog to learn more about the pests and other creatures found in Alabama.