- Author: Chris M. Webb
California’s oak trees are facing another challenge to their survival. The gold-spotted oak borer (GSOB) was identified in California in 2006; since that time, over 17,000 oaks have died from this pest.
The loss of oak trees, especially in the wild, brings many negative impacts: loss of wildlife habitat, greater risk of erosion and catastrophic fire, invasion of noxious weeds, as well as safety risks related to falling trees or branches.
The borer attacks the trunks and branches of mature oaks. While most pests attack trees that are stressed or weakened, the GSOB attacks large, healthy trees – including trees in yards. Thus far the damage has been contained to San Diego County.
Much work is being conducted in an effort to learn more about the GSOB. With more knowledge, researchers hope to be able to stop the destruction of these magnificent trees. At this time, all we can do is work together to slow the spread of the GSOB with the following steps:
- Do not transport oak firewood into or out of campgrounds or parks
- Chip infested oak wood to 1-inch pieces
- Cover stored oak firewood with 6 mm, UV-stabilized, durable plastic tarps in the spring. Secure all the edges of the tarp to the ground to prevent beetles from escaping
- Season oak firewood. Remove the bark and place the wood in direct sunlight
Pictures of the borer, the damage caused, and more information can be found here.