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Old 12-27-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


Several red belly and downy woodpeckers have taken quite a liking to our cedar siding. I'm told that there's not really any effective deterrent, and that patching up any significant damage they create is the only way to deal with the problem.

We do like seeing them in the yard so I'm not interested in harming them or chasing them away permanently, and providing feeders actually seems to steer them away from pecking so much at the house.

For those with experience dealing with this, what is the best product to use to patch the holes? As always, any other input you have to share is appreciated.

Thanks to all,
Dave

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Old 12-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #2
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


I'm in virginia mountains with lots of pekers and wood siding. I don't know if all the trees make a diff but I do have two birdfeeders hung just outside my living room windows which they flock to and seem to leave the house alone

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Old 12-27-2009, 12:24 PM   #3
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


if its not to extensive almost any 2 part exterior wood filler will probably do

there are some that are used in historic wood preservation but they are very expensive and you would probably be better off just installing some new cedar where necessary

sometimes there are wood bee larva that they are after
sometimes they just like to peck i guess
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


tpolk: the reduction in the amount of pecking once I hung a feeder was pretty impressive!

tomstruble: thanks! no historic preservation concerns here. I do also "enjoy" the company of many carpenter bees, so that is quite likely what they are after.
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Old 12-27-2009, 05:07 PM   #5
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


some times in the sumer if im putting on cedar the carpenter bees come by as im installing the stuff,i guess they smell the sugars while i cut it
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:34 AM   #6
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


Two autumns ago, I had the attack of the woodpeckers against my cedar siding. I had close to 30 holes and it was the worse year in the 14 that I have been there. I have no idea what changed from previous years, where there was little damage. Since that time, I have added three of those plastic owls. This year, I have had minimal signs of woodpecker damage. Because each year had varying levels of woodpecker damage, I am not sure that it was the owls that helped, but it is worth a try. I understand streamers and other flashy objects might help.

Out of curiosity, I investigated why a woodpecker would poke holes in a house. Turns out that they do this for three reasons: nest building, food (insect) hunting, and mate attraction (sound). The types of damage they did to your house may give a clue as to how to fix it. If the holes are the typical round holes clear through the siding and into the stud bays, I assume this is the nesting reason. But if the damage is random and shallow, perhaps you have a bug problem and the solution may be to treat for bugs. Given that you posted this in December, I am assuming that the damage was not the result of mating habits.

I also suspect that fresh sealer on siding can tend to deter woodpeckers, but have no scientific evidence to support this theory. I do not have the ambition to seal the entire house on any given year, so I tend to do this on sections of the house each fall. I notice generally that the damage occurs to the parts of the house where the sealer is less fresh.

As far as repairs, I would not be satisfied with the simple addition of filler to the nearly-2" diameter holes. I chose to use a hole saw to create round plugs from scrap siding. I chose the size as necessary to be slighty larger than the hole. After tracing the shape of the plug onto the siding, I used a rotary tool with small drum sander to ensure the hole was properly sized to recieve the plug, then glued it in place with polyurethane glue. This worked well. It was, however, pretty time consuming.

Good luck and let us know if you come up with some tricks of your own.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


I'd say they're pecking for a reason. Look for insect damage. I had a woodpecker stop by to test the exposed plywood sheathing on my house. He didn't make any holes, just jumped around and knocked in a few spots. I let him go because I figure if he finds something, I want to know about it. It turns out he didn't find anything.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:25 PM   #8
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


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Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
As far as repairs, I would not be satisfied with the simple addition of filler to the nearly-2" diameter holes. I chose to use a hole saw to create round plugs from scrap siding. I chose the size as necessary to be slighty larger than the hole. After tracing the shape of the plug onto the siding, I used a rotary tool with small drum sander to ensure the hole was properly sized to recieve the plug, then glued it in place with polyurethane glue. This worked well. It was, however, pretty time consuming.

Good luck and let us know if you come up with some tricks of your own.
oberkc,
what type of hole saw do you use to cut the plug without getting the pilot drill hole in the center of the plug.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


I use a "normal" hole saw without the pilot drill. I use it in a drill press and clamp the board to keep it from moving.

I have also started using those oscillating saws (mine is the rockwell sonicrafter) to cut out damaged material and replace with rectangular patches. This works just as well, if not better, than the hole saw approach. I am amazed at the number of uses I am finding for this type of tool.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:36 PM   #10
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


woodpeckers are commonly a sign of carpenter bee nests being present in the wood. When the female carpenter bee nests, she drills a hole in the wood about the diameter of a pencil, she then turns and goes down the grain of the wood, laying eggs,and encasing the eggs with wood fiber, which then turn into larvae, the eggs and larvae attract the woodpeckers and they will peck the side of the wood out to get to the eggs. This can do a lot of damage. Unfortunately, since carpenter bees don't ingest the wood, they will drill into cedar and even pressure treated wood. The only remedy for the carpenter bees is to spray since they come in the spring and again in the fall. Ortho-klor makes a product (found at lowes or hardware stores) Log home stain companies make products as well and they have a lot of info about preventing the bees. You have to treat and plug any existing holes as the bees will use the same nests year afer year and sometimes several bees will share nests. Spray the hole well, fill with seven or other dust sold for them (log home stain co's sell a dust) and plug the hole with caulk. Inspect for signs of the bees, pencil sized holes, small piles of sawdust left by their drilling, if you see bees flying around the eaves, these are the males which protect the nest, they are agressive and will dive at you but they don't have a stinger. The female, on the other hand does have a stinger, so be careful when spraying holes as it will cause her to back out of the hole. Have a fly-swatter handy cause she will nail you, usually she is stunned from the spray though. The best info to research is found at the log home stain sites such as perma-chink, woodguard, sikkens, etc. good luck!
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:32 AM   #11
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


In all my repairs, I have noticed no signs of insect nests. Nor have I noticed, prior to woodpecker damage, any signs of wood bees or other insects. Woodpeckers, at my house, consistently bore completely through the cedar siding, through the sheating, into the insulation.

Given my location and time of year (Ohio, November), most of our insect activity is pretty low. Bacuase of this, and the type of damage caused, I have tended to discount the possibility of insects in my case. (Perhaps I need to reassess this assumption.) I have assumed most woodpecker damage in my area is caused by nesting activity, preparing for next spring.

Last edited by oberkc; 11-12-2010 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


Quote:
Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
I use a "normal" hole saw without the pilot drill. I use it in a drill press and clamp the board to keep it from moving.

I have also started using those oscillating saws (mine is the rockwell sonicrafter) to cut out damaged material and replace with rectangular patches. This works just as well, if not better, than the hole saw approach. I am amazed at the number of uses I am finding for this type of tool.
I guess I never thought of loosening the set screw and removing the bit. I just tried it with my drill press and it looks like it will do the trick. Then I will try using a dremel tool with drum sander to create the perfect fit in the hole as you suggested. Also thanks for the sonicrafter tip. I just watched a youtube video on it. I do have one spot where the woodpecker ripped about a 8" long narrow opening. The sonicrafter should be good for this. Up till now I have just been using SikaFlex cedar caulk which does a pretty good job.

Last edited by mpnret; 11-12-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #13
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


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woodpeckers are commonly a sign of carpenter bee nests being present in the wood. When the female carpenter bee nests, she drills a hole in the wood about the diameter of a pencil, she then turns and goes down the grain of the wood, laying eggs,and encasing the eggs with wood fiber, which then turn into larvae, the eggs and larvae attract the woodpeckers and they will peck the side of the wood out to get to the eggs. This can do a lot of damage. Unfortunately, since carpenter bees don't ingest the wood, they will drill into cedar and even pressure treated wood. The only remedy for the carpenter bees is to spray since they come in the spring and again in the fall. Ortho-klor makes a product (found at lowes or hardware stores) Log home stain companies make products as well and they have a lot of info about preventing the bees. You have to treat and plug any existing holes as the bees will use the same nests year afer year and sometimes several bees will share nests. Spray the hole well, fill with seven or other dust sold for them (log home stain co's sell a dust) and plug the hole with caulk. Inspect for signs of the bees, pencil sized holes, small piles of sawdust left by their drilling, if you see bees flying around the eaves, these are the males which protect the nest, they are agressive and will dive at you but they don't have a stinger. The female, on the other hand does have a stinger, so be careful when spraying holes as it will cause her to back out of the hole. Have a fly-swatter handy cause she will nail you, usually she is stunned from the spray though. The best info to research is found at the log home stain sites such as perma-chink, woodguard, sikkens, etc. good luck!
Yes, the log homes sites have tons of info on bees and some on woodpeckers. I have been on them for years now ever since my problems started but still haven't hit on a perfect solution. My woodpecker problem could be partially due to insects and bees but I keep on top of them pretty good with products like bee-gone and nbs30 (both from a log home site). Also 100% of my bee activity was up on the fascia board and my woodpecker activity is always on the siding.
I built my vertical cedar sided house about 20 years ago. Used siding that was factory stained with Olympic semi- transparent cedar stain. It looked good for almost 8 years with no bee, insect or woodpecker problems. I then had it power washed and stained with Wolman F&P. It looked good for a number of years and I still didn't have any problems. I repeated the process again in a few years. About this time I was starting to see some minor bee problems and also an occasional woodpecker. I always quickly sprayed the bees. Whenever a woodpecker appeared all I had to do was hang a strip of tin foil out the window near where he was and he would stay away. The tin foil wouldn't last very long blowing in the wind so I moved to a shinny tape made for this purpose. Everything was working ok but I was getting tired of the look of shinny tape hanging on my house, not to mention all the other twirly type things I have tried over the years. So I did some more research and then had my house pressure washed again and stained with Wolman rain-cote with a container of bee-gone in each 5 gallon pail (the recommended dose). No woodpeckers for a year now without using any shinny tape. But just this month a few returned so out went the tape and they are now gone.
I really want to get rid of the tape look so here is my plan. Next year I will power wash again and stain with bee-gone mixed in (a little stronger this time). I will continue with any in between maintenance with nbs30 and bee-gone. Following year I will repeat stain and bee-gone process (no-power wash) and continue yearly as long as it is working. My theory is that a freshly stained and treated house has the best chance of keeping the woodpeckers away. If I let it go 2 years they seem to return.
If this doesn't work as last resort I will go to solid stain then finally paint. I really don’t want to do this but at least I will use a cedar color. It seems insects and woodpeckers are less likely to attack painted surfaces.

Last edited by mpnret; 11-13-2010 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:41 AM   #14
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


An interesting thread.

We had carpenter bees on the front fascia of our barn this year. By the time I figured out that Terminix was not actually taking care of them as they claimed ("oh, we're not allowed on ladders"), it was too late. The peckers did the job in a matter of days. Now my fascia is riddled with irregular holes - the aftermath of a larvae banquet.

I never heard of mixing a chemical into paint and it hadn't occured to me to cut out the damage and plug it. Now if only I weren't afraid of heights ...

BTW - Terminix was fired.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:09 AM   #15
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Woodpeckers declare open season on cedar siding


What about a water hose? I'm kidding!

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