Nature can be a thing of wonder and beauty – from a safe distance. But when wildlife gets up close and personal with our home territory, it can be a nuisance. For some people, it’s not uncommon to encounter woodpeckers knocking at their door – or at least, pecking at their siding.
Why woodpeckers peck at a house
Woodpeckers have a specific goals in mind when they begin going after your house but a big one is this: food! While a taste of wood siding won’t do much to satisfy their hunger, bees, ants or other insects that may lie below the siding will do just fine!
In my home, we found a bees nest between the shutter and the siding. This was just above where the woodpecker began his pecking misadventure. Part of the solution is to remove those other food sources by exterminating the bees, in our case.
In addition, you might consider providing an alternative food source, like a suet feeder which gives the woodpeckers a damage free way to get their daily dose of nutrition.
Aside from searching for food, woodpeckers will drill holes to buid nests or to mark their territory. Regardless, the methods outlined below wil encourage them to choose another location.
What kind of siding will woodpeckers damage?
With woodpeckers slowly but surely being pushed out of their natural environments, your home may become a welcome place to carve out a spot to nest or hunt for yummy insects.
With the obvious exception of brick, just about all forms of siding – including wood shingles, shakes or clapboard, synthetic stucco and even vinyl over wood – can be attractive to woodpeckers.
One other type of siding that woodpeckers cannot attack is HardiPlank. This is a cement based shingle that is extremely hard and very durable.
How big do woodpeckers get?
Woodpeckers can be 7 to 15 inches tall and have short, strong legs and sharp-clawed toes, enabling them to be quite comfortable as they peck away at your house.
Despite their smaller size, they can do plenty of damage!
Humane ways to stop woodpeckers from damaging your home
Fortunately, there are a number of humane, homemade control methods that can encourage woodpeckers to take their pecking behavior elsewhere.
Add reflective objects
- Take two or three 12-inch-diameter aluminum pie plates or old CD’s and hang them in the area of woodpecker infestation. Allow them to blow freely in the wind.
- Mirrors, like the inexpensive 9-inch-diameter round magnifying shaving style, are also effective. Secure one or two near the woodpecker’s favored drilling spot.
Both of these methods frighten woodpeckers away as the reflections fool them into thinking that predators are near.
Add black plastic streamers
- Another effective method is to cut strips of black plastic (such as from a large plastic garbage bag) about 2 inches wide and 2 to 3 feet long.
- Tack the strips around the infestation zone, again letting them blow freely in the breeze.
Woodpeckers will steer clear of these fluttering streamers for fear of getting tangled and head off to find a new home elsewhere. Also while they’re not very attractive, you wont need to leave them up indefinitely.
After you fix the hole, I’d leave them up for another 3 or 4 weeks. By then, your one-bird demolition crew should be on to a new construction site hopefully well away from your home!
Once the woodpeckers clear out, you can remove the woodpecker-proofing decorations and store them in case of any future visits. Then be sure to repair any holes they’ve created or seal up any voids they could possibly return to nest in.
These humane tips for woodpecker control will help you defend your home from these unwanted visitors and ensure that they go off in search of someplace more hospitable!