There are several bands of holes around the trunk of my pine tree. Is the tree infested with borers?
The holes were likely created by sapsuckers. Sapsuckers, members of the woodpecker family, damage trees by drilling holes in the trunk or large branches. Sapsucker damage is very distinctive. They drill uniform, 1/4 inch holes in distinct rows. (In contrast, the holes created by insects are random.) Sap that flows from these wounds is eaten by the sapsuckers. They also feed on insects, such as ants, beetles, and wasps, that are attracted to the sap. The damage caused by sapsuckers is usually not serious. However, sapsuckers can destroy trees if they drill several rows of holes around the trunk within a small area. The bands of holes effectively girdle the tree trunk. To discourage additional damage to trees, home gardeners can wrap a piece of burlap around the damaged areas. Another option would be to spread a sticky substance, such as Tanglefoot, around the affected area. Trees most commonly attacked by sapsuckers include apple, crabapple, sugar maple, mountain ash, birch, and pine.