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University of Illinois Extension

Yellow Belly Sapsucker


Even though the Yellowbelly Sapsucker is not an insect, but a bird, its damage is sometimes confused with Zimmerman pine moth or canker diseases. The sapsucker makes feeding holes in line patterns (one or more lines of holes, several holes to many holes per line, lines may be across or up and down or on an angle). The holes are made on the trunk between the branch whorls and not at the whorls. The location separates the bird from Zimmerman and the holes separates it from canker diseases. Pitch often accumulates over these holes after the bird leaves.


The bird is protected. Therefore, it is illegal to harm them but the following is a legal management practice.
Place an inflated snake near the affected area in the tree during migration. (tie in place). This can help reduce additional damage.

Written by James Schuster, Extension Educator, Horticulture, and reviewed by Dr.Philip L. Nixon, Extension Specialist-Entomology, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Filed under plants: Deciduous Trees & Shrubs, Evergreen Trees & Shrubs, Tree Fruit

Filed under problems: Animal Damage

More information is available on Hort Answers.