leaves being pulled into holes

Asked November 14, 2017, 1:22 AM EST

I NOTICE IN MY PEA GRAVEL AND SOME IN MY LAWN LEAVES THAT HAVE BEEN PULLED INTO HOLES SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN A PENCIL, WHAT DOES THIS? The leaves are dried ones that have fallen to the ground.

Washington County Oregon

7 Responses

The holes could be caused by a number of things: Birds (these will be shallow as they are pecking for worms), earthworms or bees https://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/extension/wild-pollinators/native-bees-your-backyard. None of these are necessarily bad or harmful.

Sara R,

Thank you for your attempt but I don't think either of these are causing these holes. It appears that something has drug the leaf into the hole and the portion in the hole is missing tissue, as though it's been eaten.

Try again,
Vaughn

Without any observation or evidence of some other animal/insect, it's more likely to be one of the items I mentioned. Do you have concerns about the perceived damage or an issue with the aesthetics? I found another article that talked about holes in the lawn http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_problems/hgic2364.html

The culprit is unlikely to be a vertebrate (vole, mole, etc.) It is difficult to provide a definitive diagnosis without photographs or actual viewing of the culprit. I regret that you are dissatisfied with my answer. It could still be earthworms as they do chew on leaves (or the microorganisms that breakdown the leaves to compost.)

these are tinny holes a little smaller than a pencil with slight mounding, not the size that a vertebrate could make, not in any I've ever seen. I am suspecting it is some kind of beetle as I don't think a worm has the capability to pull the leaves in the holes, they are often stuffed in quite a ways with about half the leaf sticking out of the hole. They are not causing any problem other than I'd rather not have these leaves stuck in my pea gravel in the play ground area I have covered with pea gravel and I can't blow them away with a leaf blower, I have to pick them out one by one.
It more of a curiosity wanting to know what's going on around me.
Would you like a pic of the leaf in hole and hole.

A picture would be helpful but if there is slight mounding it's most likely a bee. The ground nesting bees are typically not aggressive and it wouldn't surprise me that the decaying leaves are use for nesting/protection. If it's really just the leaves that are a problem, you could lay down spun polyester cloth like a tarp over the pea gravel until most of the leaves are down and then pick it up and put the leaves in your yard debris or compost pile.

Thank you once again.
I'll try and get a photo. There are not alot of these holes with leaves, perhaps 5-10 sometimes (usually late summer early fall) in a 30X30' area, not really a problem, as I mentioned, it's more a curiosity question and the ground bee. The mounding is only about 1/8 of an inch and some holes have no mounding.

Some of my colleagues found some other links: http://www.paghat.com/earthworms.html and https://extension.illinois.edu/soil/SoilBiology/earthworms.htm

I really think you may a combination of bees and earthworms.