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Woodpecker Damaging House Rake Board and Siding

JIMMIEM's picture

Just recently we have heard a woodpecker pecking on the house siding.  Siding is stained red cedar clapboard.  Rake boards are painted pine.  I saw a few small holes in the clapboards.  This morning I saw some more extensive damage to the edge of a rake board and the clapboard just below it.  I've read about several deterents but the location on my house is kind of tricky as area being damaged is on the end of the house with not much overhang to attach anything to.  Any ideas?  Thank You.

The woodpecker pecked out a (post #215326, reply #1 of 9)

The woodpecker pecked out a little round hole, and made him a house in a telephone pole. One day, as I watched, he poked out his head and he had on a hood the color red. When the streams of rain pour out of the sky, and the blitzes of lightning go flashing by, when the big, big wheels of thunder roll, he can snuggle back in his telephone pole.

I learned that one in the jungles of Paraguay, long long ago. So..um...short of planting a telephone pole, I suggest you replace the cedar fascia with composite trim (Louisianna Pacific Smart Side or the like). Avoid using PVC...use something paintable. Here's the thing: you have invaded woodpecker territory and the pecker ain't leavin' any time soon...and neither will you, so the battle will continue indefinitely. Here's another thing: the 'pecker won't peck unless he/she hears bugs in them there boards....I think. So...you might want to investigate the SOURCE of the problem b4 you remedy it. 

Mel Fros froscarpentry.com

I've seen them peck at (post #215326, reply #3 of 9)

I've seen them peck at perfectly sound siding, apparently because it has a hollow sound.

I suspect that some sort of soft, gloppy paint will discourage the beast.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I've battled woodpeckers on (post #215326, reply #2 of 9)

I've battled woodpeckers on customers homes for 30 years and haven't won yet. Cedar is their favorite. They can peck a hole you could throw a cat through inT1-11 in 15 minutes. Forget the fake owls and snakes, they are just another place for the woodpecker to perch. Noise makers will work for awhile but your neighbors and your wife will hate you. Ultimately the only thing that works is Hardiboard siding and trim. They might still peck at it but only to make noise.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Deterring woodpeckers (post #215326, reply #4 of 9)

I used to have the same problem in my current house.  Wake up to the sound of a woodpecker going after my siding, scare it off, grab caulk gun to fill home, and reapeat.  

The explanation that I found was.

 Woodpeckers find prey by hearing the sounds they make while burrowing into wood. If a structure is infested with insects, the woodpeckers will drill small holes to extract them. But woodpeckers cannot tell the difference between the sound an insect makes or the sound electricity makes as it travels through the walls of a house, so they may drill holes in the siding of a house looking for insects when they are actually hearing electricity.

Made sence to me.

The solution that i found that works for me was hanging a suet feeder.  It costs me probably $10 a year.  I guess the therory is why spend all of the effory trying to get one bug when you can get all thay you want just around the corner.  It's not perfect but I will settle for 95%+ improvement. 

Woodpecker Problem (post #215326, reply #5 of 9)

Hi, guys! I'm new here, but the problem dicussed has recently become urgent to me as well. The thing is that there appeared a woodpecker in my yard and I've started hearing these sounds again and again. I'm worried for my house, but I don't know what to do. Has anyone found the solution to this problem? I'll be grateful for your recommendations. 

Woodpeckers peck on my (post #215326, reply #6 of 9)

Woodpeckers peck on my gutter, on my extension ladder on the truck and on anything else that makes a loud noise. Scientist think this kind of pecking is to attract mates. They peck on trees to get to the bugs inside as well as to make nests. Tehy will peck holes in siding to get inside and nest. I suppose they peck holes in fascia to get to bugs but I think it's unlikely. If you don't have holes in your house don't worry about it, they are part of nature. If they are peckinh holes in your house to build nests your only option is to cover whatever they are pecking with soething they don't like such as PVC or cement board trim.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

There seem to be different (post #215326, reply #7 of 9)

There seem to be different explanations.  The predominent  one seems to be that they're going after carpenter bee larvae eggs or ants that are in the wood.  The carpenter bees burrow in and lay their eggs and the wood peckers come to eat.  If this is the case the first thing to do is exterminate the bugs.  One site indicated that the larvae are sealed in at this point so the insecticide won't get to them so wait until they leave and patch up the holes.  To deter the woodpeckers the recommendations are hanging reflective strips, netting, fake owls, wind socks, recorded noise of a distressed woodpecker or bird of prey.  Somebody said that they had hung some suet nearby that that the woodpecker could feed on.  Most of the info didn't really talk about the woodpeckers making a hole for nesting purposes.  Most of the damage I have and my neighbor had seem to be food related based on the size and locations of the holes e.g. edge damage of house trim and siding boards/shingles . 

We once worked an entire week (post #215326, reply #8 of 9)

We once worked an entire week repairing woodpecker holes in T 1-11 siding on a large 3 story house. There were nests in the walls everywhere. We had to replace entire sheets of the siding as some of the holes wer so big. On the last day the truck was taking the lift away and the woodpeckers had already pecked a 12" hole in one of the last sheets we had installed. The owner actually asked me to come back over the weekend and kill all the woodpeckers. I laughed.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

I just climbed up to (post #215326, reply #9 of 9)

I just climbed up to inspect/fix the woodpecker damage.  The clapboards are cedar and the ones that had wood pecker damage were boards that were slightly cupped.  My guess is that the insects got under the cupped clapboards to lay eggs/nest.  The clapboards that were not cupped had no damage done to them.  My vote is that the woodpeckers are pecking for insects.  I added some nails to the cupped boards to flatten/tighten them.   What/where is your damage?  If the woodpeckers start on my house again I'll go with the visual deterrents.