Published on August 9th, 2012 | by Henri


Woodpeckers attack cedar siding

Q.  Our 35-year-old home has cedar-shakes siding. It is attacked by woodpeckers, more frequently in the last five years. The south and west sides are the favorite pecking sites and their holes are reaching 1-1/2 inches in diameter. I have an exterminator spray for bugs and I’ve sprayed with ammonia but this has not worked.

Is the diminished odor of cedar less of a deterrent than new cedar? I’d be interested in any other approaches to this problem.

A.    The southern and western sides of your house are the sunniest, and thus the favorite of bugs looking for a cozy nest in which to hibernate. Among the insects interested in such places are cluster flies, which congregate on sunny sides of buildings in late summer seeking shelter from the approaching cold weather. The woodpeckers are after all these insects.

To discourage insects from nesting in your walls, the time to have the walls sprayed is late August or early September depending of the region. (In your location, New Jersey, early September should be fine.)

Also try hanging suet baskets away from the house to give the woodpeckers an attractive alternative to the bugs, but do so only in winter if you use regular suet, as it goes bad in warm temperatures and would make the birds sick. You can use “rendered suet” year around.

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