Every spring, yellow-bellied sapsuckers stop to visit our pecan trees on their flight northwards. Long before the buds of pecan trees start to break, these members of the woodpecker family will drill a series of holes in the trunks of pecan trees (photo at right). The holes are dug deep enough to allow rising sap within the tree' trunk to leak out. The sap provides nourishment for the birds as well as attracting insects to the sugar rich sap. When the sapsucker returns to it's freshly dug holes, the bird will dine on both sap and insects.
Looking at the photo at right, you can see a row of freshly drilled holes in the bark. But six inches above that row is a row of old sapsucker holes that have been closed over by growing bark tissue.
Sapsuckers holes may look bad but they do not damage nut production.