If you have pine trees in your yard, on your land, or in your landscaping design, you might be worried about potential dangers to the trees. There are a few bugs and animals that eat pine trees which can damage them short-term and long-term.
What Is a Pine Tree?
Pine trees are evergreen conifers most suited to grow in Northern temperate regions.
Where Are Pine Trees Located?
Although they are most suited to grow in a Northern temperate region, they are found throughout the world. If you come across pine trees south of the equator, it is unlikely that they are native to that area.
They prefer mountainous terrain with favorable soil and steady rainfall. Some species require fire to maintain proper growth, but not all do. They shed their older needles in the fall but keep some foliage year-round.
What Eats Pine Trees?
There are a few common bugs and animals that munch on pine trees, causing damage that can lead to the death of the tree if it goes unchecked for a while.
Bugs That Eat Pine Trees
Borers, a category of bugs that burrow inside a tree to attack, are common enemies to the pine tree. These bugs bore holes into the tree trunk, and eat them from the inside out.
Usually, healthy pine trees have enough reserves to produce poison to kill borers. They can physically push them out through sap if they are healthy enough.
Unhealthy pines, or pines that get planted in too much shade or dehydrated, are much more susceptible to sustaining damage from borers.
Bark Beetles are some of the most prevalent borers when it comes to pine trees. They burrow inside the tree, lay their eggs, then the eggs hatch, and the beetles poison the plant vascular system causing decay.
Pine Sawyer Beetles are another common insect that attacks pine trees. These insects usually go after white pine and Scotch pine trees. These beetles attack the tree by burrowing under the bark and chewing away at the wood. They can also carry a roundworm that clogs the tree’s circulatory system.
Lastly, Zimmerman pine moths are common threats to pine trees. They kill the pines at the treetops and usually bore at the base of the tree. You know a tree is infected because these insects cause gummy sap to form.
Animals That Eat Pine Trees
Many animals look for the seeds inside pine cones to eat, but there are a few that chew on the bark of pines.
Woodpeckers often peck inside the wood to find larvae to eat. Deer and bears are known to occasionally eat the bark. Owls are also known to make a snack and a perch out of a pine tree!
Chipmunks and squirrels commonly eat the seeds of pinecones, which grow on pine trees and often fall off on their own. Although they fall off on their own, these animals can scale the trees and knock them off to eat them.
Now that you are aware of the insects and animals that chew away at pine trees, you can be on the lookout for any signs, like dehydrated trees or trees planted in shady areas that could lead to infection.
Be aware of the warning signs to prevent your pines from total decay or keep them from falling over due to failing trunk integrity! You want to preserve your pines as much as possible and can trim off any dead or damaged branches.