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Thread: Woodpecker holes - sign of bugs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Kansas City
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    Woodpecker holes - sign of bugs?

    I am getting ready to take down a couple of trees (white oak) and wanted to save the boles for turning. I will not be kiln drying these. I notice that one of the trees is riddled with woodpecker holes and I assume that means there is a bug infestation. Am I right that this would not be a good tree to salvage, since I wont be drying to kill the bugs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    cleveland,tn.
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    most bugs are that are in the early stages of turning trees into rot are in the outer layer, put the tree on the ground and look at the wood inside the sap wood that tells the story

  3. #3
    Well, I guess woodpecker damage can let the bugs in. But I don't know, woodpeckers do most of their damage to hickory trees around here and I have cut down and sawed up ones that had woodpecker marks and some of them had no bug or worm holes. Others with not a woodpecker mark on them were full of little holes inside. Not sure if it is worms or bugs that do it...folks around here call it "wormy", but I think that is just for lack of a better term. When you say woodpecker holes you mean the little marks they peck all over the side of the tree bark or so deep, you are not referring to a big hole they actually live in right????

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Martin, yes, I mean the little holes they peck all over the trunk, which I always believed to be a sign they were looking for bugs they could hear or smell. My concern is that if the tree is infested with bugs, (and not kiln dried to kill the bugs), I won't waste time trying to save the wood for turning.

    I tried to salvage an apple tree once, and my stack of usable pieces turned to swiss cheese due to bugs, while it was waiting for attention. So I dont want to waste the effort.

  5. #5
    I understand. I never really knew why they make all those little pecks all over trees. I always thought they were probing around for a easy spot to start drilling out a new nest hole. As I said, I have seen it several times and the tree had no internal insects or worms. For some reason it is very common for woodpeckers to do this on hickory trees. In fact, now that I think about it I don't really ever remember seeing a bunch of insect damage right at those little peck marks. Then again, we might not have the same kinds of parasites or at least not as many of them around these parts. I have my own sawmill and make all my own boards...I have never killed bugs by doing anything to treat the wood.
    Seems like there has to be an easy way to kill things in the wood. Are your blanks too large to put in a microwave...that will definitely do it. I also always thought that when you make blanks for turning you cover them with paste wax so they don't crack so bad. Seems like that would do it as well. If not then I guess there's not much sense in cutting down and cutting up a tree for blanks if you feel like you won't be able to use them. Personally, me, I would go for it anyway.

  6. #6
    If you are talking about little holes in horizontal rows they are likely the work of a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker looking for - wait for it- SAP.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by Bradley Gray View Post
    If you are talking about little holes in horizontal rows they are likely the work of a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker looking for - wait for it- SAP.
    Yep, a quick look on google confirms this exact thing. The YBSS is in fact a woodpecker. That would also explain the lack of "insect damage" further into the wood at these locations.

  8. #8
    If you are worried about bugs in your log, spray the bark with a little Tempo. That will kill the bugs, and a little later you can saw the log and all the chemical will be gone with the outer layer. Ash logs here are no good unless sprayed immediately upon cutting.

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