Help! I’ve Got BUGS!

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    Thomas J. Johnson

    OK Gang,

    Hoping one of you can help me out. This morning while investigating a lighting issue I noticed that all of the trees on this site have holes bored in the trunks. It literally looks like they were victims of a small caliber drive-by shooting, just riddled with holes (Not totally out of question; this is Chicago after all). The little white dots look like larvae to me (waiting to wreak havoc this spring?). 

    Both the pines and (Maples, Ash or Lindens? [too distracted by holes to get a good ID]) have these holes. All of the trees are affected and there are not just a few holes, they are dense and go all the way up the trunks. The main difference is that on the deciduous trees the holes are arranged perfectly, like rings around the trunk (or rosy as the case may be for these trees) while on the pines, the holes are more random.

    Do any of you know what this is? Is it two different insects based on different trees and different hole patterns? What am I looking at here…?

    Thanks for your help!

    Jason T. Radice

    They look like woodpecker holes to me. They are very often that methodical and symmetrical.



    Yeah, woodpecker.  The way they hop along trunks tends to be very even, thus the evenly spaced holes.

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Dang, you’re probably right… it looks like there is larvae in the holes but maybe it’s just sap…

    Gonna have to go sleep on the expressway with my pellet gun…

    Trace One

    Sapsucker, I think. The bird is worth more than the tree.

    Just kidding.

    Gabriel S. Metz

    Yep that is the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Yes, tree art indeed. Now all I need is 250,000 rhinestones to stick in those holes, a pile of amphetamines to give me the manic ambition to complete the meaningless-mindless task and an exorbitant amount of free time to create free public art so that some guy with a lot of money and the right connections can steal my idea, take all the credit, and make himself even more money…

    Been there done that…

    Thanks but I think I’ll pass… 

    Jordan Lockman

    Woodpeckers generally only dine on trees that have larvae in them. Healthy trees do not generally harbor larvae. Is there something else wrong with the trees. Maybe the extremely mild winter is causing some irregularities?

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Yellow-bellied sapsuckers drill holes let sap accumulate and eat the sap. They can over do it and kill what was once a healthy tree, but generally don’t over do it.


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