What We Did to Keep Woodpeckers from Destroying Our House
If you’ve ever had woodpeckers decide that they like to make holes on some part of your house, you know how hard it is to stop them. This is what we did to get rid of the woodpeckers damaging our house.
We have two columns in the front of the house, right outside the front door. We also have two on the back patio. The outsides of the columns are made of a cement stucco, while the headings (the white bands) are made of styrofoam covered in stucco. So, they are not wood, nor are there bugs living in them. Which makes them an odd thing for woodpeckers to be interested in. But they were. Every morning, like clockwork, they would be out there pecking away. Loud little buggers.
See that white patch off to the right? Apparently, this wasn’t the first time these guys caused damage. The previous owners didn’t even paint the patch job they did before we bought the house. I never even thought to ask what caused the holes – I thought maybe it had something to do with the roof leaks they had before they replaced the roof.
So, anyway, the very first thing I tried was to check for any insects, and then sprayed both the columns generously with bug spray just in case there were bugs I couldn’t see. It didn’t make any difference. They came back, even with the bug spray still wet.
For a while at the beginning, I would just scare them away by banging on the glass sliding doors. But they would be back in five minutes. It was definitely a pain in the butt to do this over and over. Our parrot, Hugo, started repeating me – so every time I’d go to sliding glass door to scare them, he’d yell, “GET OUTTA HERE!” and bang his head against the top of his cage. It was kind of funny. Until he started yelling that when the cats walked by, or the dog tried to lick the floor around his cage.
So, I went to Home Depot to see what they had to deter them. I didn’t want to kill the little dudes, besides the fact that you aren’t allowed to kill them, but we definitely didn’t want further damage. The guy at Home Depot said we could put a wire mesh over the area. But that wouldn’t work for the columns. We’d have to put holes in the columns ourselves in order to hang it – which was what we were trying to avoid. He said maybe try one of the big, fake owls that they had. I bought one, and put it outside by the column. It didn’t scare them away being on the table beside it. I taped it to the column, right below the place they liked to peck at – and they stood on its head to peck!! Of course I couldn’t catch that on film, but this was right after I saw that… they just weren’t phased at all.
I returned the owl.
The second Home Depot guy thought maybe Cridder Ridder would work. We used it to stop raccoons from ripping up our flower beds at the old house and it worked like a charm. The bottle says it will deter animals and birds from coming back to a spot, and would work for 30 days, as long as it didn’t get rained on, of course. Both spots were under the roof, so they don’t get wet. I went outside immediately after getting home (and finding styrofoam all over the back porch!) and sprayed both the columns down. I really laid it on thick. Then I went inside to see if it kept the birds away. Within about ten minutes, they were back, and didn’t like the smell I guess and flew away. I was so excited! Yay!! Easy fix – No more holes!!
And then it dried completely and they were back at it, pecking away to their little heart’s content an hour later.
I returned the cridder ridder.
The third Home Depot guy looked online with me for other deterrents. I thought it was pretty awesome for him to help me find an option that Home Depot didn’t offer. Some websites mentioned a sound machine, but that would have been more annoying than the noise of the woodpeckers – and I’m sure my neighbors didn’t want to hear it. And it was expensive, and I am all about doing things as cheaply as possible. Other sites mentioned getting a big balloon with a big red eye to fly in the area – but Home Depot didn’t carry that and I wanted something now. Another customer came by and suggested that moth balls would deter them from coming back. I bought a box and went home to try it.
I put a bunch of holes in a Ziploc bag and added a handful or so of mothballs to each bag. Then I closed them up, and tossed them on top of the columns. Uhm, I can’t get over how much moth balls STINK! The whole porch stank of moth balls for days. But within a few minutes of going back inside, I heard them chirping. So I went to watch what they were doing. One of the peckers picked at the bag for a few minutes, and pushed it to the side of the column, where it is still, hanging over the side. Then he went back to pecking at the styrofoam.
We even tried to tape tin foil over the big hole they had made in the styrofoam. We used heavy duty tin foil, and gorilla glue tape, and those little suckers pulled at the tape and ripped apart the foil! One got his wing stuck to the tape he was pulling away, struggled for a few seconds to get free, and flew away. He even lost a few feathers in the process. But he came right back!!!
I felt so defeated. Nothing short of scaring them away each time was working. And that got exhausting. When I wasn’t home, I’d come back to a bunch of styrofoam all over the porches and bigger holes in the stucco.
I went online again at home and found a suggestion to put shiny tape-like streamers around the area. I figured I would try it since it was about $5. This is the one I ordered. I ordered it and waiting impatiently for it to arrive. Two days later, it came in the mail. I have to admit I wasn’t really thinking that this would work, but I was going to give it a try. If this didn’t work, I was going to have to figure out a way to get that wire mesh around the columns.
We used duct tape all the way around the top of the first column, cutting off pieces of the shiny tape about 2 foot long, and taping them in place. Almost like a princess crown, the girls said. We just did one first so we weren’t wasting time and tape.
And I’ll be darned if it didn’t work!! The birds tried to come back to the column, but the fluttering strips confused them and scared them. The tape makes a noise when it moves, which sounds like someone walking on rocks when you are in bed, by the way – and it scared the bejeezus out of me the first time I heard it at night! Between the noise and the movement, the woodpeckers were not happy.
Now, there wasn’t much tape left to make more crowns for the others, so I taped a few pieces right in front of the hole they were making in the column on the front porch, and it did the trick. As for the second column, I was only left with a few feet of shiny tape. At first, I taped a mylar balloon my daughter had received for her birthday to the column. The movement of the balloon did about the same thing, but once it lost it’s helium, it no longer kept them away. So, I created long strips using painters tape and duct tape, folding it over so the sticky parts were covered, and stuck a smaller piece of the shiny tape between the ends where the tape met. Then I taped them around the second pole. Success! This tape might have been a better buy, since you get 125′ of tape, not just 25′ like in ours.
I am going to order a roll of that and re-do the “crown” on this one.
I know it’s not pretty, but it does work. So far, the birds haven’t been able to land where they previously made all the damage – although they do fly by the back porch often, maybe checking to see if they can come back yet. The first couple days they did try pecking the gutters right above where the columns sit, retaliating for keeping them from their spot. But that stopped soon after, maybe it gave them a headache. LOL! We have to repair the places they made holes in, but we are going to wait until it’s no longer woodpecker breeding season.
So, that’s how we got rid of woodpeckers at our house. Finally.