? something chewing tops off Buddha Belly

mimulus(z 10/24 SoCal)February 25, 2011

Hello everyone, Something is chewing thru the stems of my Buddha Belly bamboo. At first it was just one culm, chewed almost all the way through, about 8 feet off the ground. Then it was two, now it's been about 20. The culm size ranges from less than 1/2" to almost 1" wide where they're chewed through and it's always from about 6-8' above the ground (tallest culms are about 20'). Looks like gnawing teeth - squirrel?, rat? I live near some hills and also have possums, racoons and fox but I think all these would be too heavy to climb the culms without breaking them. There is no access to the culms at this height without climbing them or flying.

Has anyone else seen this problem? Wondering if something has developed a taste for the stuff inside the culm or if we have some new type of insect?????? It's wiping out this clump and I'm worried it will move on to my other bamboos. HELP!

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It's probably squirrels. They're normally not a problem until they get a taste of bamboo and decide they like it. I wonder if you could spray some solution of soap and other nasty-tasting stuff on it to discourage them?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:47AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

It could be squirrels, but I'm skeptical...normally they only chew off the shoots that are just coming up. When the bamboo get more than 1-1/2' to 2' tall, the culms harden off and they lose interest. Is there any possibility that it's deer looking for something to chew on this time of year?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Kudzu -- I remember a poster on bambooweb talking about the squirrels in his yard climbing new culms to eat the tender tips. I agree it's unusual, but it's not unprecedented.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:49PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Possibly...but the original poster seems to be suggesting that the damage occurs at a specific height and that this is true regardless of how tall the culm is. Squirrels are attracted to the tender, sugar-containing, new shoots when they are just a few inches high and get much less interested as the tips elongate and harden off. I'm just not convinced that a squirrel is chewing through the side of a 15' culm halfway up...it's not that tasty.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:35PM
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I've got the exact same problem. I have a culm of Buddha Belly Bamboo that's been growing and fine for many years now, and now suddenly the tops and branches are being chewed off. Today one branch came off that's almost 1" diam. I fear whatever it is will destroy the whole culm. I thought of skunk, because I've seen a skunk in the yard in the afternoon and evening. It may be building a nest under the chicken coop.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 11:44PM
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