Updated On

December 31, 2023

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    Some of the products we’re reviewing might have the word repel or repellent in the name.  Don’t let it confuse you. Deterrent and repellent are very similar in many ways but a deterrent has more of a physical connotation to it, whereas a repellent operates more on an emotional level.

    Looking for our recommended woodpecker repellants? Check out this guide.

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    Woodpeckers and Their Diet

    Woodpeckers are average-sized birds, about 7-15 inches long.  Most woodpeckers feed on wood-boring insects such as wood borers, bark lice, and other insects harmful to trees.  They also eat ants and other insects, berries, nuts, and seeds collected from trees and shrubs.

    As migrating birds woodpeckers are protected by law from being killed, but there is nothing preventing you from killing the bugs they eat.  If there’s no food, there’s no reason for them to hang around.  They’ll leave of their own accord to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

    Using Insecticides To Deter Woodpeckers

    Using insecticides will become a major part of your deterrence efforts to keep woodpeckers away from your house and property.

    The advantages of spraying an insecticide are that it kills bugs the woodpeckers eat, which are bugs that also damage the trees on your property and leave holes of their own in your house.

    Because the insecticides are a spray, you can cover entire areas instead of just a few spots here and there.  With a ladder and a 1-gallon hand sprayer, you can spray your entire roof with just one or two gallons of insecticide, killing bugs for up to three months before you have re-spray.

    The one disadvantage is that it’s a slow process.  You’re not going to get instant results. We recommend using this in conjunction with the other deterrents listed here. That way you get short-term coverage and well as long-term.

    Top 5 Best Woodpecker Deterrents

    As a quick recap, here are the best Woodpecker deterrents we looked at.  Our #1 pick went to Talstar Pro.

    Be sure to take a look at the 4 the Birds Repellent Liquid spray because it creates an uncomfortable sticky sensation on their feet.

    In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.

    1. MorTime Reflective Scare Rods
    2. 4 The Birds Repellent Liquid
    3. JT Eaton Bird Repellent Gel
    4. Bird-X Bird Spikes
    5. Anti Bird Protection Netting

    MorTime Reflective Scare Rods

    Beautify your backyard while keeping those pesky woodpeckers away with MorTime’s decorative, reflective scare rods. These humane and environmentally-friendly sun mirrors scare birds by reflecting light in several directions. Install some under a patio to keep birds from making a mess with their waste products. They may even save those poor little finches from crashing into your glass doors.

    The key is in the reflective plastic, which is lightweight and durable. It holds up to most weather conditions and stays attractive year-round. The best thing is, the sturdy material is easy to handle and won’t harm birds.

    The set comes 30 to a pack and is easy to install almost anywhere. It comes ready with an elastic string and instructions. The recommended interval is about one to two feet apart for maximum results.

    Environmentally friendly, won’t harm birds or wildlife
    Lightweight material is easy to handle and install
    Works for most species, including woodpeckers
    Looks great as a decoration for the backyard, patio, or garden
    Not recommended for high-wind areas
    The string may degrade if installed in extreme heat conditions

    4 The Birds Repellent Liquid

    This comes in a 1-gallon container, already premixed and ready to use. Empty it into your 1-gallon hand sprayer and you’re ready to start spraying.

    It can be used in nearly any weather and on almost any outdoor
    surface. You can spray it on trees, shrubs, vines, shingles, siding, and more. It’s non-toxic and non-lethal.

    You may need several gallons if you are working on a larger area.

    It leaves a sticky residue behind when it “dries”. When woodpeckers land on it they feel the stickiness and want to get away from it.

    Although it’s technically a repellent, they have to come into physical contact with it in order for it to work which is why we’re listing here under deterrents.

    Another reason to list it as a deterrent is that it discourages woodpeckers rather than compelling them to leave. Some will stay in spite of it.

    Woodpeckers are social birds, however, so the more of them that leave, the more of their companions that will leave to go with them. All things being equal, it’s quite effective.

    Weather resistant
    Non-toxic and non-lethal
    Easy to use
    Can be used on many surfaces
    May require several gallons to secure efficiency
    May not be able to deter other species of woodpeckers

    JT Eaton Bird Repellent Gel

    It’s a clear gel that leaves behind a thick, sticky residue that creates uncomfortable sensations when woodpeckers land on it.

    It lasts for a long time so it’s easy to apply and maintain. The non-toxic formula won’t cause staining on buildings and won’t harm any animals that come in contact with it.

    This petroleum-based clear formula can be used in any weather on ledges, window sills, beams, tree trunks, tree branches and limbs, rafters, etc. It can be applied in straight or wavy lines to cover the surface you’re protecting (wavy lines are the best) and is nearly invisible once applied.

    It does have a tendency to melt in hot weather so you may have to re-apply it more frequently in the summer months than during the rest of the year, and each tube only covers about 30-32 linear feet.

    Easy to use
    Won’t stain buildings
    Safe to use around animals
    Melts in hot weather
    Each tube covers only around 30-32 linear feet

    Bird-X Bird Spikes

    These professional-grade bird spikes from Bird-X help deter woodpeckers and other pest birds from perching in areas where they’re not wanted. They provide a physical barrier to birds landing on ledges, fences, and other structures.

    Use Bird-X Bird Spikes in these locations:

    • Rooftops
    • Ledges
    • Fences
    • Patios
    • Garages

    The stainless steel spikes are rustproof and easy to install with adhesive, nails, or screws. Once in place, they require no maintenance. Each kit comes with 10 feet of spikes mounted onto a plastic base. It also contains full instructions and mounting hardware.

    A humane way of deterring woodpeckers and other pest birds
    Works in a large number of locations
    Easy installation, comes with complete instructions
    Weather-resistant, stainless steel construction
    Some spikes may work loose from the base during shipping
    May not work if installed incorrectly
    Ineffective for rodents, squirrels, and other small animals
    Some may find bird spikes to be unattractive

    Anti Bird Protection Netting

    This is a black net with 1/2″ mesh. It is 14-feet wide and comes in a 200-foot long roll. While you probably don’t want to drape your house with bird netting, wrapping it around the tree trunks and branches shouldn’t cause much of a problem.

    It needs to be suspended at least a couple inches away from the surface it is protecting. You might need to hire someone to wrap the netting around the trees for you or buy some ladders. Either way, it’s going to cost more than just the price of the netting.

    When woodpeckers land on it they can’t get a firm grip on the wood through the net. Without that firm footing, they can’t peck at the wood. The swaying motion of the net simply won’t let them do it. They’ll quickly become frustrated and leave.

    Netting is especially useful if a flock of woodpeckers has already established themselves in the trees around your house. They feel like it’s their territory now, so it will take some very stern measures to drive them away.

    Wrapping a net around your trees is a radical maneuver but it will work. But it is going to take some work to make it work, and it will be rather unsightly while the netting is in place.

    Difficult to install
    Can be quite expensive

    Think you might need professional help with your woodpecker problem? Use the form below to connect with local pest control pros:

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    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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