How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers
LESLIE: Ron in Virginia is on the line and he is dealing with some woodpeckers who are eating the house. They do like to do that and they do bore those perfectly gigundo (ph) holes in a matter of seconds. So tell us what’s going on, Ron.
RON: Well, we’ve been living in the house about 15 years and never had the problem before. But there are a lot of other houses with cedar siding that have had the problem. And when I’ve talked to folks, they’ve tried things like hanging aluminum foil strips around and sometimes the birds would even take it and put it in their nest. And it didn’t scare them away.
TOM: “So there.”
RON: They tried the plastic owls. It seems like they last on the house for a little while and they just disappear. And it started about two weeks ago and I’ll patch up a hole, come home the next day from work and I’ve got another hole or two in the house. And I keep patching every day and I don’t know what else to do with them. I called an exterminator, just to see if they could trap them, and they said, “Oh, no. Not in the U.S. There’s a $500 penalty for doing that.”
LESLIE: Oh, yes.
RON: So what do I do?
TOM: Well, what we’ve heard and what has worked for our listeners in the past is a combination of a couple of things that you’ve just mentioned. First of all, not so much the aluminum strips but more like tin pie plates. Hanging them in the air …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because they’re super-shiny.
TOM: That are super-shiny and they kind of fly around and freak them out. Plus, if they get really close to them, they can see themselves and that kind of freaks them out, too. So tin pie plates and then, also, long strips of black plastic. So think of a long hefty bag.
LESLIE: All things that make your home look really attractive.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
RON: Yeah, great. And I’ve got it on the market now trying to sell it, so …
TOM: Oh, well, this will close the deal right there, you know? But those kinds of things – maybe you could put it on the non-visible sides of the house from the street and try it. But those two things, we have gotten feedback from our listeners that they’ve worked very successfully. And then, of course, when they stop coming to your house and get comfortable going to some poor neighbor’s house down the street, you can remove the décor. Or if you leave it up long enough, maybe you could work it in with some holiday décor.
RON: Start a new style.
TOM: There you go.
RON: Is there any kind of – nothing’s in stone but is there any time limit? Will it bother them after a week or two, a day or two, months?
TOM: Not totally sure but I don’t think we’re talking about indefinitely here. My sense is it’s a week or two.
LESLIE: Yeah, we had – I remember when my son was little and I was like the nap commando. And whenever he was sleeping and anybody made a ruckus, I’d go outside and be like, “Shhh! Quiet!”
And I heard this horrendous racket outside as soon as my son was down for a nap. And I run outside and I’m looking around trying to find out which kid I can yell at on the block and I’m all excited about it. And all of a sudden, there on the side of my house is this gigundo (ph) woodpecker just having a field day. And I could do nothing to scare him away but I did put up a tin pie plate. I actually used it to cover the hole that he had made. And it didn’t come back and I kept it up for probably two weeks. Never saw it again, never heard it pecking on anything. Who knows? Maybe it was just satisfied or maybe I trapped it in the attic. Who knows?
RON: Great ideas. So I’ve got to go find some tin plates now.
TOM: Alright, Ron. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.