If you are a yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius
), ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris
), ant (Family Formicidae), red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta
), comma butterfly (Polygonia comma
), mourning cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa
), question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis
), hackberry butterfly or many native bee species (Order Hymenoptera), it could be sap!
Tree sap is a liquid that usually flows inside the tree. There are two types of sap. Sap that is flowing up the tree from the roots contains mainly water, minerals and nutrients. Sap flowing from the upper parts of the tree to the roots has water, sugars made by the leaves and other chemicals. If there is a crack or other opening in the tree, sap sometimes escapes from the inside of the tree. Butterflies, bees and ants are among the species that feed on sap. The yellow-bellied sapsucker has a double purpose when feeding on sap. This bird drills rows of tiny holes in tree bark where sap can escape. It eats the sap, but it also comes back again and again to feed on insects that come to eat sap. You are a sap-eater, too, if you eat maple syrup!