Campus News

Biologist details the best ways to keep woodpeckers away

Michael Mengak, wildlife biologist and professor at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, shared with Southern Living the best ways to keep woodpeckers away.

“Woodpeckers pecking on your house may be searching for food, just as they would do on a hollow tree,” Mengak said. “This may indicate you may have an underlying pest issue, such as carpenter ants, carpenter bees or termites.”

To keep woodpeckers away, be aware of what attracts woodpeckers—wooded lots and wood-sided homes such as cedar shakes, board and batten, and log siding are especially appealing.

Lighter colors on wood siding might also deter them. Research indicates darker-colored homes (dark earth tones) have a higher incidence of woodpecker activity than brightly colored homes (white, cream).

Homeowners should also inspect the area where a woodpecker is attracted to for a hidden pest infestation and take action as soon as a woodpecker is becoming a nuisance with drumming behavior.

Additionally, homeowners can hang bird netting to exclude birds from a favorite drumming site or use scare devices to discourage birds from visiting. However, Mengak notes that there is no evidence that taste repellants, essential oils or sonic devices work.