Telecom Industry — Protecting Your Telecom Poles from Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are without a doubt one of the most intriguing species of birds — after all, boring into trees in search of food seems a lot harder than foraging on the ground.

When most people think about woodpeckers, envision their parents shaking their fist with anger as they discover a hole in the siding of their home or are driven mad by the constant tapping of a woodpecker on a nearby tree. What people often overlook is just how destructive woodpeckers really are. In fact, the woodpecker might just be telecommunication’s worst enemy, as countless telephone poles are damaged beyond repair by woodpeckers each year.

Luckily, there is a solution. IPOLE is one of the most unique commercial pest control products in the Sniff ‘n’ Stop pest control product suite — being that it is the only Sniff ‘n’ Stop product that is specifically designed to deter one pest and one pest only. And in this case, the pest we are speaking of is the woodpecker.

In today’s blog post we will discuss woodpecker damage to telecommunication poles, and how IPOLE can prevent it.  

Woodpeckers & Telecom Damage

Believe it or not, woodpeckers don’t bore into wood to humor themselves — they do it because they are looking for food. Woodpeckers’ food of choice is larval insects that hatch under the bark of trees, and by pecking through the bark a woodpecker can reach its meal. But that doesn’t explain why a woodpecker might bore onto a telecommunication pole.

Telecommunication poles are made using treated wood. The treated wood is a form of pest control itself, as it protects the pole from insect infestation and damages. But if there are no insects in a telecommunication pole why would a woodpecker peck it?

There are many theories as to why woodpeckers peck telecommunications utility poles, but some of the more popular theories address the fact that they are simply looking for food or making a nest. Because woodpeckers utilize the presence of vibrations to pinpoint the location of their prey, it is theorized that the vibrations from the utility pole conductors make the woodpecker think that they are feeling vibrations from bugs.

Some of the more common woodpeckers that damage telecommunication utility poles are:

  • Red-headed woodpecker (melanerpes erythro-


  • Red-bellied woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
  • Acorn woodpecker (melanerpes formicivorus)
  • Downy woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
  • Hairy woodpecker (picoides villosus)
  • Northern flicker (colaptes auratus)
  • Pileated woodpecker (dryocopus pileatus)

How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers

When it comes to woodpeckers, pest control is not as easy as applying a toxic substance that exterminates the local populations — because a lot of woodpecker species are endangered. Instead, telecommunications and utility companies must go to great lengths to repel woodpeckers from their poles. Below, we have listed some of the more common woodpecker control practices and commercial pest control products that are used to protect the poles.

Lethal Removal

As we mentioned above, woodpeckers are protected because they are migratory nongame birds and most species are endangered. That being said, there are permits that can be obtained through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by working with USDA-APHIS-Animal Damage Control personnel that might allow for the exception of lethal removal tactics.

Scare Tactics

Much like farmers and their scarecrows, there are telecommunication companies that use decoys and other objects to scare woodpeckers away from the utility poles. Unfortunately, it does not take long for a woodpecker to realize that the decoys are fake — rendering them useless.


Another form of woodpecker control that is used to protect utility poles is to place a barrier over the pole. In some instances, a slick material like fiberglass is applied to the pole to keep the woodpeckers from being able to land, and in others, tar and other sealing materials are applied to the pole. That being said, one of the most common barriers is a metal mesh that is small enough that the woodpecker cannot get their beaks through. The only issue with this form of pest control is that it is quite costly, as you can probably imagine.

IPOLE IFoam™ Structural Epoxy Foam (And Other Less-Versatile Repellants)

IPOLE commercial pest control products are specifically designed to repel woodpeckers from utility poles. But you might be wondering “How is IFoam™ Structural Epoxy Foam any different from other repellants?”

IFoam™ Structural Epoxy Foam goes above and beyond repelling woodpeckers — something that other repellants fail to do. IFoam™ Structural Epoxy Foam is a two-part commercial pest control product that not only repels the woodpeckers from the previous holes that they have created, but also fills the holes, expands, and bonds with the wood — protecting the wood from decay and other damages.

So what are you waiting for? Repel woodpeckers, save money, and order your IFoam™ Structural Epoxy Foam today! We look forward to doing business with you!

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