How do you treat and repair woodpecker damage and holes?

The constant tap tapping of a woodpecker causing damage to your home, is enough to make you want to bang your head against a wall too! But, when a woodpecker makes itself known, there are a number of things you can do to treat and repair the damage and holes it has left behind.
Before you treat and repair woodpecker damage and holes, you should eradicate the insects the woodpeckers eat. Only then you can repair the damage by cutting, cleaning and plugging the holes.

Woodpeckers prefer to peck soft siding material such as cedar, redwood and stucco. Luckily, repairing woodpecker damage is a very simple and straightforward process – providing you follow it up with preventative steps so that it is woodpecker proof for the future.

Damage caused by Woodpeckers

Before repairing any damage, we strongly advise that you get rid of any woodpeckers in your area, so that your hard work does not go to waste. Failure to do so will only mean that you’ll be plagued with the same problem over and over again. And make no mistake, treating and repairing woodpecker damage and holes can become a full-time job!
Most woodpeckers feed on tree-living or wood-boring beetles, larvae and insects, and peck in order to search for food or suck for sap. Woodpeckers also drum or drill in rapid succession in order to establish their territory or attract a mate. When woodpeckers want to nest, they hollow out a nesting hole which can be quite large and very deep.
Most woodpeckers choose a specific place to live year-round, are particularly persistent and difficult to move on.

But move on they must, as woodpeckers are incredibly destructive, drilling 5 or 6 holes at a time in a horizontal line and creating no end of noise when tapping against metal or wood. They can often be seen drumming on drainpipes, chimney caps, poles and gutters and can strip your trees of not only insects and sap but the fruit that it grows.

How to treat Woodpecker damage?

Once one woodpecker begins making holes on or around your property, chances are the noise will attract other woodpeckers to the area. And, once a hole has been created, insects crawl inside, providing the woodpecker with a regular food source.

Once the woodpeckers have been safely removed from your property, then should start to repair the holes immediately. The easiest way of doing this is to: –

Depending on the size of the damaged hole, you should enlarge the inside using a chisel or saw, so that the back side is larger than the opening. It doesn’t matter what shape you create; you just want to ensure that your repairs do not pop out of the siding. Make sure that you remove any insects and rotting wood before proceeding.

Place putty filler inside the hole and ensure that you completely cover the opening. If the hole is significant you may want to use a foam sealant instead in order to make sure that it remains watertight. Pick a sunny day so that the sealant has plenty of time to dry out.

Make sure that you file down the filler so that it has an even level against the undamaged wood. To the naked eye, you want the patched up hole to be barely visible. If you have a larger hole, you will need to cut out a piece of wood (plywood or lumber is recommended) and ensure that it is slightly smaller than the hole itself in order to plug the gap. Use wood filler to place the patch into the hole and seal around the edges.

Having cleared away any leftover dust, decorate the hole so that it blends in naturally to match the surroundings.

How to prevent future Woodpecker damage

As mentioned above, it is pointless patching up woodpecker holes, if you have not remedied the cause. If you enjoy having birds visit your backyard and are looking to divert the nuisance woodpeckers to other areas around your property, then we would recommend:

Removing any large trees and pruning back branches near to the house will help discourage woodpeckers to peck as they will feel more exposed and vulnerable when out in the open.

Rather than waiting for woodpeckers to find food for themselves, why not provide them with a bird feeder. Mealworms, peanuts, nectar, suet and even fruit jelly are tempting treats for woodpeckers. Just be sure to monitor your feeder regularly in case it starts to attract other pest animals such as rats and squirrels.

Just like the feeder, if you provide a woodpecker with a readymade nest, then it negates the need to build one. In order to make it an appealing option, place the woodpecker house close to the vicinity where previous pecking has occurred.

How to deter Woodpeckers for good

If, however, you are looking to get rid of woodpeckers from your property, then you will need to encourage them to take up permanent residency elsewhere. Here are some techniques that you can employ in order to deter woodpeckers for good.

Although woodpeckers drill holes for a variety of reasons, they are more likely to do so if there is a ready made food source available. Ants, bees and other insects need to be removed through insecticides or traps as this will encourage the woodpecker to look for food elsewhere.

Although bird spikes will not stop them from creating holes, it will prevent them from finding a place to sit and rest.

Shiny or reflective objects moving in the breeze can give the impression of predator eyes. This will make a woodpecker feel uneasy and they are more likely to remove themselves so that they are out of danger. Try hanging aluminium foil, CDs, reflective tape, balloons or brightly coloured paper to see if it has the desired effect.

This can be incredibly effective at night when the motion sensors pick up the woodpeckers in flight and assault them with light or water.

If the problem is starting to get out hand and you are unable to keep up with the hole plugging, then we suggest that you seek professional advice from a wildlife control expert.


Whilst many of us do not consider woodpeckers to be pests in the same way we might rats, bed bugs or even other birds such as pigeons; they can cause a lot of damage which can be costly to repair. It is important, however, that we treat and repair woodpecker holes immediately, as failure to do so can not only cause significant structural damage, encourage other infestations but also attract other woodpeckers to nest in the area.

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