Lodge pole pine trees in Bend , or

Asked March 16, 2019, 11:44 AM EDT

Hi Something is eating all my pine trees in our back yard, we live in NWX on the Westside of bend. I don’t know if it is a squirrel or an insect . I have attached photos , any advice would be greatly appreciated on how to handle this Thanks Jim

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Hi Jim,

This looks the results of a squirrel stripping the bark of your trees. The affected trees look pretty well girdled and will likely not survive, so you might consider sacrificing them to the wildlife this Spring. I think this late snow has really created a difficult situation for all the critters who have woken up and are hungry! Once better food sources come on board, they should start leaving your trees alone.

Here are your options for protecting your remaining trees (via Jeffrey Jackson, University of Georgia): http://icwdm.org/handbook/rodents/TreeSquirrels.asp

I also recommend this publication from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/docs/TreeSquirrels.pdf

Exclusion

Prevent squirrels from climbing isolated trees and power poles by encircling them with a 2-foot-wide (61-cm) collar of metal 6 feet (1.8 m) off the ground. Attach metal using encircling wires held together with springs to allow for tree growth.

Habitat Modification

In backyards where squirrels are causing problems at bird feeders, consider providing an alternative food source. Wire or nail an ear of corn to a tree or wooden fence post away from where the squirrels are causing problems.

Repellents

Ro-pel is a taste repellent that can be applied to seeds, bulbs, and flowers; trees and shrubs; poles and fences; siding and outdoor furniture. Capsaicin is also a taste repellent, registered for use on maple sap collecting equipment.

Polybutenes are sticky materials that can be applied to buildings, railings, downspouts, and other areas to keep squirrels from climbing. They can be messy. A preapplication of masking tape is recommended.

Trapping

A variety of traps will catch squirrels, including No. 0 or No. 1 leghold traps, the “Better Squirrel and Rat Trap,” box traps, and cage traps. Regular rat-sized snap traps will catch flying squirrels and small pine squirrels.

Since squirrels are classified as game species in most states, trapping permits may be required from the Oregon Departmant of Fish and Wildlife. Wire cage traps and box traps can be used to capture squirrels alive. Tie trap doors open for 2 to 3 days to get squirrels accustomed to feeding in the traps. Then set the traps and check them twice daily. Inform your neighbors of your trapping activities. Translocation of tree squirrels is a questionable practice because of the stress placed on transported and resident squirrels and concerns regarding the transmission of diseases.

Good baits are slices of orange and apple, walnuts or pecans removed from the shell, and peanut butter. Other foods familiar to the squirrel may also work well, such as corn or sunflower seeds.