How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers | Trees & Siding Deterents

How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers

how to get rid of woodpeckers
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Woodpeckers are an interesting case within the pest control industry since the birds can be classified as an environmental necessity as well as being a pest at the same time. Woodpeckers help to regulate the insect population near your home, but most of the time, the harm the birds cause to wood structures and the noise they make when drilling is too much to bear.

To get rid of woodpeckers, you must first use deterrents to make the spots the birds forage food and shelter unattractive. Visual deterrents, audible deterrents, and even woodpecker food are all safe ways to repel the birds and keep them from drilling into structures.

Woodpeckers can cause severe structural damage in some circumstances, which is why a multi-step plan is usually the best method to take against the birds. Read on to discover all the possible ways to keep woodpeckers out of your yard with a variety of woodpecker deterrents.

How Do You Kill Woodpeckers?

Let it be known at the outset that it is illegal to kill woodpeckers and/or their eggs or nest. This bird is protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918 (MBTA), which means you will have to apply for a special license to kill the birds if the birds are causing undue stress to both yourself and your property.

In order to kill woodpeckers, you will need to apply for a license through the Fish and Wildlife Service department on the agency’s website. You can register with an email address and password to fill out the application.

There are numerous ways to rid woodpeckers from your home, all of which work by not physically harming the bird or your house for that matter. Since woodpeckers are not a traditional pest with rapid reproduction and colonization problems, scaring these birds away is relatively easy if you have the right products.

What Do Woodpeckers Hate?

Like most wild animals, woodpeckers hate the threat of a larger living thing becoming close to them and disrupting their food and shelter sources. When you are trying to figure out how to get rid of woodpeckers, you first have to address what it is they are seeking that is causing the birds to become a pest.

Woodpeckers have a sharp beak that allows the birds to drill into wood and other structures for a variety of reasons. Woodpeckers frequently seek worms and other insects that infest wood sources, such as carpenter bees.

These birds will also drill their beaks into trees or other structures made of wood to create woodpecker holes, which is a sanctuary that the birds will shelter in and build their nests. If you have ever wondered why do woodpeckers peck, these are the primary reasons the birds incessantly drill into wood.

How to Humanely Get Rid of Woodpeckers

A proper woodpecker deterrent and a safe woodpecker repellent are trusted and effective ways to address the overall problems associated with woodpeckers. Unless you have a special license from the federal government, you can only deter woodpeckers with effective woodpecker deterrents.

The following are a range of techniques and products that can be used to get rid of and keep woodpeckers away.

Chemical Deterrents

The absolute best way to repel woodpeckers is to first attack the food source that the birds are seeking: insects. Woodpeckers are seeking the insects that live on or inside of wood, which can include termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, certain types of worms, and other wood-inhabiting pests.

Chemicals are actually beneficial in two ways: you are killing certain types of pests that can do even more damage than a woodpecker in the long run, and you are actively repelling the birds from placing their beaks into a potent poison.

Chemicals are highly effective, but caution should be exercised based upon the type of pest a woodpecker is seeking. For example, if a woodpecker is after an embedded nest of carpenter bees, you may want to use caution when applying chemicals to a bee nest.

carpenter bees attract woodpeckers

No matter where you may be having a woodpecker problem, be it your house or nearby trees, woodpecker damage can be found by spotting a range of holes that are slightly too big to have been made by traditional pests.

If you are noticing slightly large to medium-sized holes in wood, chemical agents will work well to keep woodpeckers away. It doesn’t matter if the birds are drilling for pests or to make a shelter, a powerful insecticide will do just enough harm to repel the birds without causing the woodpecker severe harm.

Talstar Pro (see on DoMyOwn.com) is one of the best insecticides on the market for treating a range of insects that live within wood due to the heavy concentration of bifenthrin, which is one of the strongest insecticides within the pyrethroid family of chemicals. You can spray this product all along wood on your home or in our yard to ensure that the chemical is well-coated on the parts of the structure that woodpeckers will drill into.

If the wood is infested with pests, make sure to also treat the wood for these pests as you may as wish to remove two destructive pests with one chemical. The woodpecker will stop drilling into the wood and the poison will kill the wood-damaging pests within.

Chemicals get used very rarely when battling against woodpeckers because you have to be sure the chemical in question is not going to kill the birds. You may also find success with a similar chemical agent that is no way causes the woodpecker to ingest any chemicals: sticky traps.

A sticky trap, or sticky gel, is a bird repellent that keeps woodpeckers away by using a chemical that creates a translucent barrier across wood structures that causes a bird’s feet to become stuck to the surface, which makes the bird struggle to get free. A woodpecker would not want to go through the experience of having to break free of the sticky chemical a second time and therefore, will avoid landing on structures that contain the gel.

Bird Repellent Gel (see on DoMyOwn.com) combines a powerful adhesive mixture of polybutene which is just safe enough to not harm the woodpeckers as they briefly struggle to free themselves of the gel. This trusted brand is consistently on the cutting edge of creating powerful and sustainable pest control technologies and this product is no exception.

Visual Deterrents

Woodpeckers, like most wild birds, do not like to be bothered or made to feel afraid by living things that are larger than they are, which is why visual deterrents may be of exceptional use in efforts to get rid of woodpeckers and prevent woodpecker damage.

Reflective Tape


Reflective tape is a great product to consider since this hones in on the fear of shiny objects that is a characteristic of all woodpeckers. This product works by simply taking strips of the tape and applying the strips to various parts of woodpecker damage that has been caused to wood.

Reflective Scare Tape by De-Bird is one of the best tapes to consider since this product uses an array of shiny and reflective colors that will ensure that a bird will not land anyway where near the tape. You may also suspend the tape from trees if you are having woodpecker problems there.

Be sure to use the tape in all areas where you may have spotted woodpeckers previously and this product also works well as a preventative deterrent.

Bird Netting

Bird netting is a great technique to use to keep woodpeckers away since it provides a physical barrier by which to prevent damage from a house or trees. The only drawback to using bird netting is that it will take a lot of product to cover a house and trees depending on how much area needs to be covered.

Anti Bird Protection Netting (see on DoMyOwn.com) is one of the best products to consider since this variety of netting may adequately cover enough of the area that is prone to damage.

Netting will protect and even deter woodpeckers from landing on structures and even trees, but it will require a lot of material if you are looking to cover large areas of your house and woodpeckers may still get through the netting even though you have spent a long amount of time setting it up.

Natural Bird Deterrents

Birds are intelligent creatures, and sometimes it takes a blunt approach with a highly repugnant repellent to do the trick of keeping woodpeckers away and preventing damage to your house and trees. If all else fails, you can opt for a liquid bird deterrent that will repel woodpeckers without harming them.

Bird Stop Liquid by Bird-X is an effective, natural liquid that can be soaked onto wood damage on your house and in trees. The liquid is made from enzymes found in grapes, which create a highly repellent odor to keep the birds away.

To use this product, simply apply the liquid via a spray container all along wood and in the branches of trees as far as you can reach. Make sure you also cover holes resulting from damage, especially on the surface of your house.

What Scent Repels Woodpeckers?

Now that you have a general rundown of all of the effective ways to repel this species of bird, there are also a few other facts to keep in mind about woodpeckers.

This species of bird is mostly attracted to wood, with insects being the primary food source of choice for these birds. With this in mind, woodpeckers hate the smell of fruits and other types of vegetation, specifically fruits.

Most liquid repellents for this bird are made from the concentrate of grapes and berries, which are highly repellent to woodpeckers and are therefore highly effective.

This bird also doesn’t like the scent of other animals or people, which is why a woodpecker will usually fly away at the first sight or sound of a person or pet coming near to where they are.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Stop a Woodpecker from Pecking at Your House?

This type of bird is particularly a nuisance from the sound that emanates from the process of drilling into wood. This is specifically problematic when a woodpecker drills against the wood on a house.

To keep woodpeckers from pecking at your house, start with reflective tape as this can be the easiest and less time-consuming deterrent to start with. Tape is also less of a hassle to use since you may place the tape freely on wood structures around your home with ease.

If this doesn’t work, the next step would be to make your home a woodpecker repellent by applying liquid bird deterrent to all of the wood surfaces outside of your home. With some persistence, these procedures will become effective in due time.

How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers on Chimney?

A chimney may pose some problems due to the heights involved with accessing the structure due to the heights involved. You may want to use a physical barrier for this task since a chimney is a small enough structure to easily cover with netting.

Make sure you cover the areas where you notice damage, which will usually be wood or some sort of penetrable structure that a woodpecker can sink their beak into.

How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers on Siding

Siding may be prone to woodpecker damage as this is a structure that the bird can likely penetrate through. To remove the birds from siding and keep them away, this type of problem may best be addressed by using a liquid bird deterrent or for better results, consider the use of reflective tape, as this would require the least amount of work on your part and is usually the quickest way to deter the birds.

It may be helpful to make sure that there are no underlying pest issues within the siding in the first place. The birds could simply be pecking the siding to create a shelter, but never rule out the possibility that there could be some sort of insect colony infesting the siding which is causing the birds to peck.

How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers in Trees

Trees are typically the most popular objects that woodpeckers will peck into to find food or create a shelter. Trees can also be the biggest problem in trying to control the birds since trees can reach heights that are unsafe for humans to try and place products, yet easily accessible to birds.

The best method for keeping this bird out of a tree is to use reflective tape. Placing chemicals in a tree can cause harm to the tree, therefore, this is not the best course of action to take.

Place the tape in all areas that are easily accessible from the ground, as this is likely going to be the area on a tree that will cause the most problems from this bird. If you feel as if you need to get to higher areas of a tree, be sure to use a ladder and take extra precautions to ensure that you do not fall.

Are Woodpeckers Beneficial to Have Around?

Yes and no. This bird is amazing at helping to keep the insect population found around a yard and a home under control. It is good to have a natural weapon that will work to rid an area of problem pests without the need to do much on your part.

With that said, these birds are indeed a pest due to the amount of damage they can cause to a home not to mention the problems with noise that can arise from the incessant pecking they perform. If you can live with these problems, that is great, but most people will find that the damage is not something that they can simply allow to happen.

The Bottom Line

Getting rid of woodpeckers is not difficult if you choose to invest in the right kinds of products to repel the birds. The damage and noise pollution that the birds can cause is more than enough to warrant control measures to keep the birds away, but it is important to remember that you cannot kill these birds.

Visual and natural deterrents are highly effective at keeping woodpeckers at bay and you can rest assured that if used properly, this type of bird will not hand around for too long.

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Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike (AKA 'Pest Control Mike') is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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