The tiny Goldspotted Oak Borer has killed tens of thousands of mature oak trees in San Diego County since it was first identified there in 2004. Recently, this destructive pest was found in the Weir Canyon area of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and local agencies are working quickly to isolate the infestation and prevent a similar tragedy here in Orange County.
The beetle infestation was found in 56 mature oak trees in a remote area of Weir Canyon. Of those infested, 20 were cut down and removed due to heavy infestation. OC Parks is working with Irvine Ranch Conservancy to treat and preserve the health of the rest of the affected coast live oak trees. Both groups are also working with OCFA, University of California Cooperative Extension, and state and federal fire agencies to develop a response plan in case the Goldspotted Oak Borer is found again in Orange County.
The main thing the community can do to help prevent the spread of this invasive pest is to not move firewood. Agencies are encouraging the public to “buy it where you burn it” – don’t take firewood from one location for use in another location. If you go camping, buy wood at the camping destination and use it there. If you have leftover wood from your camping trip, don’t bring it back home. This is an easy way to help stop the further spread of invasive beetles, and help keep native oak trees healthy.
Local, state and federal agencies will continue to monitor oak woodland areas to catch any other infestations. To learn more about the Goldspotted Oak Borer and what you can do to stop its spread, the University of California Cooperative Extension Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has developed an educational website at www.gsob.org. If members of the public suspect a Goldspotted Oak Borer in their firewood, they can use this site to make a report.