Prevent woodpeckers from damaging houses by installing tactile, visual and sound deterrents on the exterior of the houses. Set suet in the yard; the birds may choose the suet over damaging the house.
Begin deterring woodpeckers from their houses as soon as you hear the first taps. Continue deterrents after the woodpeckers leave to prevent them from returning.
Tactile deterrents are sticky repellents applied directly to the surface that woodpeckers are damaging. Use caution with tactile deterrents because the substances may stain wood siding and cause dirt to stick to the surface. The substance may also get into the woodpeckers' plumage, affecting the birds' abilities to stay warm and fly.
Visual deterrents include installing plastic owls, windmills with reflective vanes, windsocks and reflective tape. Plastic owls deter woodpeckers for a few days, but the birds lose fear of the owls if they see the owls in the same place every day. The windmill's revolving motions deter woodpeckers, as does a windsock flapping in the wind. Cut reflective tape into long strips and let it flap in the breeze to scare woodpeckers.
Electronic distress call systems are sound deterrents that prevent woodpeckers from causing damage to houses. Choose versions with motion sensors that only activate when woodpeckers come close to the houses.