Woodpeckers are useful for woods as they rid the trees of parasites. At the same time, these birds are a true disaster for any man-made structures. Once the woodpeckers choose to settle on a wooden fence, pole or house siding, the homeowners will not only lose peace because of the noise, but will also discover wide potholes, the size of an apple, to repair. It is thus essential to find the best woodpecker deterrent as soon as possible before these birds damage your household.
Killing many species is banned and is simply inhumane which is why our review will only be devoted to repelling woodpeckers. You will find out which methods are recommended by the scientists, how to pick a woodpecker repellent and woodpecker scare devices. At the end of the review, we will list the top products to meet every budget and situation.
Table of Contents:
- How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers With The Scientists’ Tips
- How To Keep Woodpeckers From Pecking By Using Distracting Maneuvers
- Comparative Chart of Methods and Deterrents
- TOP-13 Best Woodpecker Repellents
What Attracts Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers inhabit the entire U.S.A., and over 20 species can be found across the country. Most often, they are encountered in the forests or near wooden plantings. Trees are a source of life for these birds as they nest in hollows pecked in the tree trunks and feed on the insects and their larvae living as deep as the core of the tree. They manage to do this with the help of their powerful buck and long, sticky tongue which is half as long as the bird and reaches 7-15 inches in length,
Woodpeckers are easy to recognize as their plumage is contrastingly black and white, and the males also have a red mark on their head. A common kind of woodpeckers is the yellow-bellied sapsucker distinguished by the yellow chest.
A popular myth says that apparently, woodpeckers peck the buildings only when they’re starving. Such a phenomenon is considered to be a sign of the building’s dilapidation and it is believed that repair works and eliminating the insects will help get rid of the woodpeckers. In fact, the birds can be attracted by brand new buildings. Not only wooden designs, but also certain building materials, such as mounting foam are susceptible to damage as they visually resemble old bark and moss.
The acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) drills holes in wood simply to store acorns. When sapsuckers drill their numerous rows of 1/4-inch (0.6-cm) holes in healthy trees, they are primarily after sap and the insects entrapped by the sap, –the University of California’ Rex E. Marsh gives an illustrative example.
As a rule, one or two woodpeckers attack a building at once, but over the season, there can be a total of eight woodpeckers. It is crucial to repair the pecked hollows in a timely manner so as not to attract new pests. Dead trees should be disposed of and ill trees should be treated for the same reasons. If your house has a wooden siding with small round holes, it is likely infested with the carpenter bees. It is possible to stop woodpeckers from pecking the house if you eliminate them with special products.
Woodpeckers prefer coniferous trees, cedar and mahogany, especially if the material has retained its natural properties after being processed. Sometimes the siding’s hue can pose a threat.
A study in New York found that homes painted with earth-tone colored paints or stains experienced significantly more woodpecker damage than homes painted with bright white or pastel colors, – as stated in the brochure of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Woodpeckers’ destructive activity peaks throughout February to June, during the mating period and migration. In the spring, male woodpeckers can bother you with their drumbeat on metal pipes and gutters as they attempt to denote their right to the territory. Construction gaskets placed under these structures can weaken the noise.
How to Get Rid Of Woodpeckers with the Scientists’ Tips
If you are looking for the woodpecker deterrents on a cedar siding, draw your attention to physical barriers, primarily to netting.
One of the most effective methods of excluding woodpeckers from damaging wood sidings beneath the eaves is to place lightweight plastic bird-type netting over the area, –believes Rex E. Marsh (University of California).
Netting with 3-4 inch wide holes will protect the cornice from the woodpeckers. The distance between the net and the wall should be about three inches so that the birds cannot damage wood siding through the netting.
Metal or plastic spikes are a universal barrier against almost all kinds of birds. The former kind targets larger birds and can be attached to uneven surfaces.
Since the woodpeckers are attracted by wood, vulnerable spots can be protected by metal or plastic membrane or use rough cloth. The common disadvantage of all kinds of barrier protection is that the birds can outsmart you and attack another, unprotected part.
Woodpecker Scare Devices
Another way of scaring woodpeckers is to create a seemingly hostile atmosphere for them. This requires acting on the woodpeckers’ vision and hearing.
The scientists do not consider traditional visual repelling, such as making a hawk or an owl scarecrow, to be very effective as the pests get used to static figures quite fast. However, if you make these mock-ups move - for instance, if you hang a predator scarecrow rather than set it still - you can yield results. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (unit of Cornell University) recommends using Bird-X balloons with a holographic image of eyes watching the birds’ movement.
Light-reflecting devices are well proven. Use aluminum strips, long foil bands, windsocks and toy plastic twirlers. Pay special attention to small windmills with reflective blades as they can be installed straight on the problematic lot. Shiny silver balloons tied to a string in windy weather will also do. The opinions regarding using small mirrors to scare woodpeckers differ: as in some cases, the bird didn’t react to their own reflection or even became more active. Perhaps this has to do with the static placement of these devices.
Loud noise scares woodpeckers, but in order for them to flee forever, claps and knocks must repeat every time these birds enter your territory. Programmable sonic deterrents are devices that reproduce predator birds’ voices and are specifically aimed at repelling the woodpeckers (however, BirdXPeller Pro is capable of scaring both woodpeckers and sparrows) and are recommended for use. The advantage of such an acoustic system is that the sound repeats regularly and covers up to one acre of territory.
Devices with movement sensors also scare your unwanted guests. When a bird approaches such a gadget, it makes noise or releases a jet of water. Because such motion activated water sprinklers are usually installed on the lawns, woodpeckers are often out of their reach.
Propane exploders are used to protect commercial fruit farms, however, they are too bulky and powerful to use at home. As for the ultrasonic acoustic devices, many specialists doubt their effectiveness.
– High-frequency sound is above the normal audible hearing range of humans but, unfortunately, above the range of most birds too, – claims Rex E. Marsh (University of California).
Visual and sonic repellents are useful as a rule only when the birds haven’t yet settled at your lot. If they have, most likely you will need a combination of physical barriers.
Gels and sprays are still used mostly to preserve crops. Chemicals cause indigestions in birds, so they leave fruit and berries alone. As the woodpeckers are more attracted by trees than by fruit, no digestive repellents can be used against them. A woodpecker spray must act on touch and be sticky.
Sticky repellents (Tanglefoot, 4-The-Birds, Roost-No-More) will make even cedar siding unwanted for birds. Be careful and try not to damage the surface. First, try this product on a small area. If any traces are left, apply the product on a thin plate or a transparent plastic sheet and attach it to a problematic place.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology does not recommend using sticky repellents, because if a bird gets this product on its plumage, it will likely not be able to fly anymore.
How to Keep Woodpeckers from Pecking By Using Distracting Maneuvers
If you have tried all the legal methods in vain, change your strategy. Instead of repelling birds, you can make feeders or nests for them and thus minimize the damage. This tip is especially useful for places heavily populated with the woodpeckers as the nested birds will protect your lot from other woodpeckers.
Use a narrow wooden box 22-26 inches high with a wide entrance and an inclined roof. Such a booth can be attached to a pole, a tree or even under a house roof, i.e. at any height where there is damage.
Specialists recommend undertaking feeding in cold seasons when birds have trouble doing this on their own. Suet is the best filler for a feeder that should therefore have a trellised bottom, allowing the woodpeckers to peck out the treat by clinging with their claws. Such access protects food from other bird species. However, be careful with the treat, as the scale of the problem might grow.
– If you decide to try luring woodpeckers away from damaged areas using suet, please be vigilant and remove the suet if it appears that you are attracting additional woodpeckers, – warns the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A Comparative Chart of Methods and Deterrents
|Method/Product||How, When and Where Best Used||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Spikes||On house cornices and city fences.||Prevents the pests from landing, are versatile against various species.||Are not aesthetic.|
|Netting||To protect fruit trees, houses and plantings.||Effective protection against medium-sized and large birds.||Is not always useful against smaller birds.|
|Scarecrows||To be installed on the lot or porch.||Visual and sonic repelling.||Can work against woodpeckers only if hung.|
|Noisy Light Reflectors: Tape. Rods, Discs||Are hung wherever birds are undesirable.||Reflected light and sounds have a repelling effect.||The birds get used to it eventually, the best effect is achieved when it is windy and sunny.|
|Sound Repellers||Are installed in places that require protection.|| |
They mimic predator's sounds i.e. Natural threat for the birds
|Should be combined with other control methods.|
|Ultrasonic Repllers||Are installed on balconies, terraces and outside.||Can repel various pests.|
|Motion Activated Water Sprinklers||Are installed on lawns.||Physical repelling and additional plant watering.||Woodpeckers can be out of the sprinkler's reach.|
|Chemical Repellents: Gels and Sprays||Various surfaces are treated, e.g.: cornices, lawns, fruit trees.||Evoke a reflex of avoiding the treated areas.||Some compounds are toxic and require following the manual. They can repel useful birds.|
TOP-13 Best Woodpecker Repellents
Here is a list of various deterrents which, as we’ve found out, are recommended by the scientists to be combined for creating an atmosphere, hostile to woodpeckers. The most accessible devices’ price starts at $10.
- Physical barriers: spikes and nets
- Woodpecker scare devices
- Light reflection devices: scare rods, discs and tape
- Electronic repellers
- Chemical repellents: gels and sprays
Physical Barriers: Spikes and Nets
One of the most popular ways of keeping the woodpeckers away from your house is to use physical barriers, e.g, spikes and nets. You will have to spend some time installing them, but in return, these universal repellents will help you restrict any birds and will serve you for a long time.
Spikes are a universal means of scaring the birds, including the woodpeckers. Bird-X metal and polycarbonate spikes are popular on Amazon.com. Plastic spikes have branches at the bottom which is why they won’t miss even small intruders, such as sparrows. These spikes are glued with the supplied glue. Metal spikes will be more appropriate against woodpeckers as first, the grid will be more durable and, second, the flexible base of the metal spikes allows attaching them even to an uneven surface.
Price: Plastic Polycarbonate Spikes: ~$12.63 Check the current price
Price: Stainless Steel pikes: ~$16.99 Check the current price
Nets are also a universal method. A quality synthetic net will protect any kind of shelter, and the woodpeckers won’t be able to penetrate it. The only issue is that as a rule, these nets are sold without any supplementary structures, so you will have to determine yourself where and how this protective barrier will be situated. Special netted devices are usually made as a means of controlling garden birds.
There are two similar options: Bird-X Standard Bird Netting (100' by 14’) is perfect for gardens and light-duty applications, while Bird-X Heavy Duty Premium Bird Netting (50' by 50') is ideal for heavy-duty applications. The former net costs ~$66.76, while the latter begins at ~$310. Opt for a larger canvas to protect even the widest surfaces against woodpeckers. In both cases, the nets are water-proof and light-proof; they are flexible and won’t hurt birds. Keep in mind that you will have to build protective designs out of these nets by yourself.
Price: Bird-X Standard Bird Netting: ~$66.76 Check the current price
Price: Bird-X Heavy Duty Premium: from ~$310 Check the current price
Woodpecker Scare Devices
The task of scaring woodpeckers has been simplified as much as possible. Just like other birds, woodpeckers perceive the environment with their vision and by associations. That is why such scare devices as terror eyes can be used to deter them.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology experts are skeptical about predator statues, but they do recommend hanging balloons with holographic eye image. One such option is a ~$30.89 Bird-X Terror-Eyes Inflatable Bird Scare with realistic holographic eyes. The balloon is 24 inches wide, which is twice an average woodpecker size. Huge eyes watching an intruder are undoubtedly the main fear factor. This fake becomes a realistic threat when these orange eyes swing in the wind. Unfortunately, the users note that over time, this reliable guard loses its power, just like all other visual aids.
Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent for ~$15.68 is a more accessible option of the same set of three balloons with an eye pattern. Each balloon is 16 inches wide, but the manufacturer states that the product is aimed not only at repelling small birds, but also seagulls, ravens and woodpeckers.
Price: Bird-X Terror-Eyes: ~$30.89 Check the current price
Price: Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent: ~$15.68 Check the current price
Light Reflection Devices: Scare Rods, Discs and Tape
Cost-saving, effectiveness and compactness are the main attributes of light reflection woodpecker repellents. Light reflection devices target visually (as they blind the birds with reflected light) and sonically (by making noise even at the slightest wind blow). You won’t find a better woodpecker protection on a windy sunny summer day.
Bird Blinder Repellent Scare Rods is a ~$9 classic set of five silver rods made of shiny plastic on a band. Almost all the customer reviews are positive. The users from all regions are unanimous that they repel birds effectively. No one mentions complete woodpecker removal, but the birds’ population is bound to decrease.
Bird Repellent Disks for ~$19.95 are a good option for those who value durability. This gadget is made of stainless steel and won’t let you down in a rainy summer. This is a set of eight light-reflective dual disks. This original design yields results as there is twice as much noise and light. The sellers assure that the device will be quite effective against woodpeckers.
Scare Tape for ~$9.99 is a real best-seller and people’s choice. Perhaps, they simply like the design of this colorful holographic tape. Its most important task is repelling birds. Two 150 feet rolls are available for only ~$9.99. It provides sufficient stock for several eliminations of woodpeckers. The tape reflects light from both sides and can be attached to any surface. This product is simple to use, effective and is affordable, hence the popularity with the users.
Price: Scare Rods (5-pack): ~$9 Check the current price
Price: Scare Disks (8-pack): ~$19.95 Check the current price
Price: Scare Tape: ~$9.99 (2-pack) Check the current price
As we’ve mentioned, not every electronic repeller is effective against woodpeckers. Water sprinklers could have been useful if the woodpeckers weren’t out of their reach which is highly unlikely. Acoustic repellents are more reliable, and the scientists recommend combining them with other deterrents, at least with spikes or net. There are plenty of popular devices on Amazon.com, and we will tell you about the best ones. It is up to you to decide which to choose.
Bird B Gone Chase Super Sonic Deterrent
This is a dodgy gadget with prerecorded cries of predatory birds. They are the woodpeckers’ natural enemies and therefore, they must repel these long-nosed beautiful birds from several hundred meters away!
This universal product has various modes of repelling up to 22 bird species. According to the description, it can be programmed against certain species, for example, pigeons, crows, starlings, gulls, or woodpeckers. It is powered from an outlet.
If you are bothered exclusively by the woodpeckers, turn your attention to a special ~$157 gadget Bird-X BirdXPeller Pro set to work specifically against woodpeckers and sparrows. Both devices’ speakers can cover up to one acre. Additional speakers can be bought (for ~$60) to enhance the sound.
The feedback on these electronic repellers is contradictory. Obviously, the users are into playing the game of sonically fighting the birds. But some users suffer from these loud cries and complain that the make-believe predators repel useful birds and disturb the dogs in the neighborhood. The satisfied users note that they have only been successful because they’ve combined several products. The starting price for a pack is ~$98. Read all customer reviews on Amazon.com, to find out whether it’s worth buying.
Price: Bird B Gone Chase Super Sonic Deterrent: ~$98 Check the current price
Price: Bird-X BirdXPeller PRO Electronic Bird Repeller Version WP for Woodpeckers & Sparrows: ~$157 Check the current price
Chemical Repellents: Gel and Spray
Chemical repellers also allow scaring the woodpeckers. It can be applied on windowsills and cornices (if a woodpecker is fond of your house’s exterior), and sprays can be used immediately on trees and plantings (if this bird has settled on your lot).
Bird-X Bird-Proof Gel Repellent
This is a very curious product with an intriguing name of “liquid spikes”. Its main feature is that it can be used on cornices and windowsills. The manufacturers claim that it can be installed at any height or slope. All you have to do is to apply the gel on the surface properly. Woodpeckers are one of ten species against which the liquid spikes are effective enough.
The users confirm that this gel retains its properties outside well enough. It is also transparent and does not seem toxic. Three packs of this inexpensive chemical repellent will be enough to create a 30-feet long protective band.
Price: Bird-X Bird-Proof Gel Repellent: ~$14.79 (3-pack) Check the current price
Woodpecker Spray – Bird-X Bird Stop Liquid Deterrent
A gallon of this methyl anthranilate-based spray costs ~$91.48. The product is universal and targets a large variety of birds that harm fruit and trees, including woodpeckers. Depending on the tactics used in every situation (refer to the manual), this liquid can require dissolving in water or being used as it is.
So far, neither the sales nor the rating have been high. Certain users, however, describe positive experiences of using this repellent against woodpeckers. However, they claim that the product acts on all birds with no exceptions, even on useful ones: “Worked great on woodpecker pecking on my house, but it also kept the other birds from coming to my feeders. I hope the good birds come back.” The customers also note the expensiveness of the product, but add that the price is justified as long as it works. This concentrate is far more cost-efficient than a ready-to-use item.
Price: ~$91.48 Check the current price
Woodpecker Deterrents Comparative Chart
Bird-X Plastic Polycarbonate Spikes Kit with Adhesive Glue
|Spikes||Install on a cornice or a windowsill.|
Bird-X Stainless Steel Spikes Kit
Bird-X Standard Bird Netting
|Netting||As a barrier.|
Bird-X Heavy Duty Premium
Bird-X Terror-Eyes Inflatable Bird Scare
|Terror-Eyes||Hang where needed.|
Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent
Bird Blinder Repellent Wind Twisting Scare Rods
|Light Reflector||Hang where needed.|
Bird Repellent Disks
Bird B Gone Super Sonic Deterrent
|Sonic Repeller||Install in places of birds' unsolicited activity.|
Bird-X BirdXPeller PRO WP for Woodpeckers & Sparrows
Bird-X Bird-Proof Gel Repellent
|Chemical Repellent||Leave a strip of liquid nails on your cornice or windowsill.|
Bird-X Liquid Deterrent
|Spray over the trees and plantings.|