7 Proven Ways To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers

woodpecker in tree

Woodpeckers are beautiful birds that are lovely to view in the outdoors, but they can, unfortunately, become a bit of a problem when they start causing damage to your house. They can also cause harm to the trees in your well-maintained garden. So how to get rid of woodpeckers?

There are various ways to deter woodpeckers, first remove any possible food source. Next, use a woodpecker feeder to encourage them to move away from your house. You can also install bird spikes to deter them from roosting. Install objects such as pinwheels and wind chimes to deter them.

How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers?

Woodpeckers are lovely to observe if you are out in the wilds, but it is no secret that when they drill holes into your home or the trees on your property, they can cause a substantial amount of damage.

We will look at ways that we can discourage woodpeckers from moving into your space. 

1. Remove The Food Source To Discourage Woodpeckers

ways to get rid of woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are omnivores, and the most likely reason they are drilling into your home is that there is a readily available food source such as ants, termites, or bees.

So be sure to look for signs such as dead insects, rotting wood, and hives, as these could attract unwanted woodpeckers to your home.

By identifying these, it could also help to alleviate the damage that could be caused by other things such as insects borrowing into the wood of your home.

If you have an insect problem, your best port of call is to contact your local pest control company, which will be happy for the business. They will either remove the hive or insect nest and or fumigate to ensure your home is pest free.

This will remove the reason for the woodpeckers visiting and help you avoid other potential damage from being caused to your home by the insects themselves.

2. Offer An Alternative Food Source For The Woodpeckers

Once you have identified the food source and removed it, you may find that the woodpeckers still return as they have learned that this is a place of bountiful food. Then it is a good idea to consider offering them an alternative source of food. (Know what woodpeckers eat?)

Set up a feeder close to where they were initially feeding, and once you notice that they have taken to the new food source then each day, slowly begin to move the feeder further away from your home.

If it is spring or summer use sunflower seeds in the feeder. If it is late fall or winter, provide the birds with suet bits, produced from cow fat, as they particularly enjoy this.

Once spring comes around, you should finally be able to remove the feeder entirely as other food sources, such as insects, will become available.

Also, if you do enjoy having the birds around, just not near your house, then you might think about planting fruit and berry trees along the perimeter of your property, to attract the birds away from your home.

3. Install Objects To Deter Woodpeckers

If the previous suggestion was ineffective, then it is time to ramp up the assault and ensure against the birds having a space to roost on your house.

The areas they will fancy include fences, eaves, and surfaces that are high up and horizontal, such as branches of trees near your house.

If they are comfortable resting in these spots, it will encourage them to frequent your home as it offers a place to put their feet up and is a source of food.

Another problem that you may find is that if they like your home, they may make it their own by drilling and creating nests in parts of the building made of wood and synthetic stucco.

One of the first options to help to deter them from doing this is to install bird spikes in the areas of your house where you see they like to spend time. These spikes are plastic or metal and prevent the woodpeckers (and other birds) from settling in.

This form of a deterrent is easy to install and very low maintenance. However, although some are more inconspicuous, for the most part, if in view, they can be an eyesore.  

Another option includes hanging items that are reflective, make noises and move. Good items would be old CDs, reflective tape, pinwheels, or wind chimes. These options are effective short-term, though, with the reflective options yielding the best results as they irritate the birds’ eyes.  

Remember that these options are likely to fade and incur wear over time and will require replacing. So it is better to opt for these for an interim period while you prepare a more sustainable solution.

4. Fill Up Holes Which Woodpeckers Have Made

You will want to do this as soon as you notice that they have started causing damage, and it appears that they are hoping to build nests. What you want to do is to fill up any of the holes that they have already created to deter them from continuing their nest building.

Apart from thwarting their preconceived plans, one other reason is to ensure they do not get any clever ideas. If they notice that there are pre-existing holes or that they can easily make holes, they will realize that the wood is soft and ideal for creating a home.

Wood putty is likely your best option for this job, but you can also use foam and mesh.

Foam will be loaded into a foam gun and secreted into the holes; once dry, you can then sand and paint it to match the surrounding surface.

Something like copper mesh is malleable enough to fit into holes but strong enough to withstand the elements.

Another critical thing to note is that woodpeckers are more inclined to visit spots where wood is rotting. Once you have identified the area they are targeting, perhaps consider having it seen to, as you do not want the problem to spread.

5. Install Bird Netting To Deter Woodpeckers

Okay, another option that is also quite effective, particularly in helping to deter woodpeckers from roosting, is bird netting. This is an excellent notion, especially if you notice their pecking is not localized and you need to cover larger areas.

For the netting to be effective, you will want it to sit roughly 3 inches (approximately 7 centimeters), at least, from the surface you are hoping to protect. The net makes perching incredibly difficult for woodpeckers and repels them.

When buying your netting, make sure that it is the type meant for use on buildings and not that intended to protect crops.

This method of getting rid of woodpeckers is slightly more laborious than the other alternatives, but it is pretty effective and not too much of an eyesore. Also, it is low maintenance.

Suppose you have removed the food source and possibly offered another alternative, filled in existing holes, and perhaps even tried deterring them with moving and shiny objects, and they still come back to your home.

 In that case, netting is your best bet of permanently ensuring against their return. Also, you can use this netting to protect your trees, as it will ensure against them drilling holes and carving out nests.  

6. Use Reflectors To Scare Away Woodpeckers

Using reflectors can help alarm woodpeckers and cause them to fly off. There are different ideas to use here, and they can all be effective to some degree. Sometimes this, coupled with other solutions, yield a high success rate.

Make sure you use a material that will move and shimmer, such as;

  • Reflective tape
  • Aluminum foil strips
  • Mylar balloons
  • Wind chimes

Hang these objects near where woodpeckers roost or damage your walls and allow them to move with the wind.

Woodpeckers rely on their sense of sight and hearing, so sudden flashes of light or sounds will make the woodpecker jittery and, with enough encouragement, may decide that it’s too risky to stick around.

7. Install A Woodpeckers Nesting Box

You may think this is counter-effective, but with woodpecker habitats being destroyed to make space for more urban areas, the woodpeckers find it harder to find good nesting spots in rotted trees where they can excavate nests for the breeding seasons.

Maybe you got rid of some old barren trees that didn’t fit in with the landscaping, removing the woodpecker’s nesting possibilities, so the next best thing is your house.

Adding a nesting box can provide an ideal spot to raise the family.


When we hope to rid our homes and possibly our whole property of woodpeckers, there are various means by which we can achieve this. The main thing is that we want to do so humanely. There are more aggressive alternatives available, but some of them can seriously harm the birds.

Woodpeckers do not know any better, and they are merely looking for somewhere to nest or their next meal, but this inconveniences us. So we hope that we have been able to offer you some good ideas of how to rid yourself of woodpeckers and that you’ll soon have the peace of mind you desire.




Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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