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Not-a-woodpecker drilling mysterious holes in tree

Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts.Registered User regular
edited May 2019 in Help / Advice Forum
My in-laws have a lilac tree on their property, and something is drilling holes in it. They never hear anything so they don't think it's a woodpecker. This is what it looks like:


It's a close-up photo so scale might be deceptive. Those holes are only about 1/8th of an inch across.

Any ideas? We haven't found anything in the holes or any kind of suspicious drill-wielding bugs milling around the yard.

Edit: Also, it's only the lilac tree. They've got lots and lots of trees but whatever's happening is only happening to the one tree.

Drake Chambers on


  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I'm betting Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    My guess would be a bug of some kind. Maybe lilac borer?

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    It looks like a bird to me..
    Bark appears to be being pulled off.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Xaquin wrote: »
    I'm betting Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

    A quick search tells me that the damage looks incredibly similar

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    It is also a type of woodpecker

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Can you set up a movement sensitive camera?

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    clearly an air beaver

    XaquinElvenshaeBrodyspool32Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudLocal H JaykimeThroForarAegisShadowfireDonnictonCambiata
  • Drake ChambersDrake Chambers Lay out my formal shorts. Registered User regular
    Yeah, I thought bug for a bit but looking at pictures it really does look more like woodpecker damage given the proliferation and arrangement of holes.

    I shall investigate further and report back if we figure it out. Thanks all!

  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    edited May 2019
    Much of the time when woodpeckers make loud pecking sounds that people hear, they're doing it deliberately for territorial or whatever purposes. They're usually not that noisy when doing workaday pecking for insects or sap holes. Sapsuckers could've drilled those holes without any humans noticing their work.

    Mayabird on
  • KrathoonKrathoon Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    There are also wood bees. They leave sawdust.

    You would know if it was them though. You would have large bees buzzing around.

    Krathoon on
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    It's a woodpecker of some kind. Insects don't leave parallell lines of holes all across the tree. That's typical for woodpeckers, while insects tend to leave an irregular pattern.

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