Learn how to identify nutria and distinguish them from other native look-alikes in this fact sheet from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW). If you think you've found nutria in California, be sure to report it to CDFW. You can find more about nutria from their website.
Small beetles are causing big problems in Southern California. Two closely related species, the polyphagous shot hole borer and the Kuroshio shot hole borer (collectively referred to as invasive shot hole borers), have been attacking more than 60 species of trees. These invasive beetles create a series of tunnels, or galleries, where they lay eggs and cultivate a Fusarium fungus to use as a food source. The fungus causes branch dieback, general tree decline, and can result in tree death. The beetles have been found in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Diego counties.
What should you look for?
- Perfectly round entry holes about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen
- Wet staining, gumming, white powdery exudate, or frass associated with holes
- Dead or wilting branches on trees
The Eastern fox squirrel is established in most major cities in California and can be identified by their grizzled yellow-brown coat, tan to reddish-brown underside, and bright orange-brown ears. It is considered the most serious pest of homes and gardens in urban and suburban environments. The eastern fox squirrel is the only tree squirrel that can be managed without a hunting license or permit as long as management is in line with the California Fish and Wildlife Code and Regulations.
For more information about these and other squirrel species, you can read our two part blog post here and here. Our Pest Note: Tree Squirrels also has more information on the biology and behavior of tree squirrels as well as additional management information.
Where Did They Come From?
Domestic pigs were released in California in 1769 to be raised for consumption. Some of these pigs were not recaptured and became feral. In the 1920's, Russian wild boars were brought to California for sport hunting. Since both types of pigs belong to the same species, they interbred. Their descendants are called wild pigs.
Why are They a Problem?
Male wild pigs can weigh up to 200 pounds, and females up to 175 pounds. These large animals root through the soil to find food, disturbing native vegetation and digging up livestock forage. They compete for food with both wildlife and farm animals, as well as kill and eat wildlife and small farm animals. In urban areas, wild pigs cause extensive damage to lawns and gardens.
Wild pigs carry 5 major waterborne pathogens that can be infectious to humans, are hosts to 37 parasites that can affect multiple animal species, and can carry potentially devastating diseases to domestic livestock and wildlife. The 2006 outbreak of E. coli in California spinach fields is thought to have originated in wild pigs.
Management and Control
Since wild pigs pose a significant potential disease threat to humans, domestic livestock and native wildlife, an effective management program is necessary.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife considers wild pigs game animals. They can be managed through exclusion, trapping and/or shooting. To learn more about wild pigs and their management, read the Pest Note: Wild Pigs.
In California, exotic plants were originally introduced by humans who planned to use them for ornamental or aquarium use, or for use as forage, food, fiber, medicinal or soil stabilization purposes. In some cases, the unintended outcome has been plants that have become invasive.
Some invasive plants are still for sale at retail nursery and garden centers. Some examples of available invasive plant species include pampasgrass (Cortaderia selloana), Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), English ivy (Hedera helix) and crimson fountaingrass (Pennisetumsetaceum), and Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima).
Most gardeners and landscapers unknowingly purchase invasive plants. When buying plants, they look for those that are attractive and do well in the landscape; and some invasive plants fit these criteria. However, there are many alternatives to invasive plants that look similar, but don't pose a risk to California's environment and economy.
If you want to avoid purchasing invasive plants, read the Pest Note: Invasive Plants for help with identifying invasives. You can also visit the PlantRight website and look for Plants by Region of California for recommendations on which plants to purchase instead.