ABSTRACT

We evaluated the impact of wood type, season, and repellent use on North American Porcupine damage to forty installed posts along Rails-to-Trails property in Brockway, Pennsylvania, USA. Treatments were (1) pressure-treated Pine posts with Ro-Pel (a liquid repellent), (2) pressure-treated Pine posts without Ro-Pel, (3) Black Locust posts with Ro-Pel, and (4) Black Locust posts without Ro-Pel. We assessed new damage to posts 1 – 4 times per month from June 2007 – January 2009. All damage was to Pine posts (x = 12.9 cm2, SE = 3.70 cm2) and no damage was observed to Black Locust posts. Observed damage to untreated posts (x = 9.93 cm2, SE = 2.10 cm2) was 3.3 times greater than damage to posts treated with Ro-Pel (x = 2.99 cm2, SE = 2.86 cm2). Total monthly damage to Pine posts was greatest in August (x = 2.31 cm2, SE = 1.51 cm2) and there was no observed damage in February, October, and November. When examining damage by season, damage to Pine posts was 54 times greater in summer (June – August; x = 1.62 cm2, SE = 0.567 cm2) than in fall (September – November; x = 0.030 cm2, SE = 0.030 cm2). We suspect the seasonality observed may be related to salt loss and salt-seeking behavior. We suggest that landowners and managers who anticipate Porcupine damage consider using alternatives to pressure-treated Pine for their wooden structures. In addition, repellent applications could be timed to correspond with the peak of damage to reduce cost.

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