When you take a trip into Idyllwild, you may notice signs that warn against
transporting oak firewood into town. The reason for the warning is the Gold-spotted
Oak Borer beetle.
The GSOB beetle is native to southeastern Arizona and was first identified in San
Diego county in 2004. Within six years, the beetle killed 21,500 trees. The numbers are
higher now. Although research continues for the best treatment, there is no cure once
a tree has been infested. For now, prevention is the best option.
Adult GSOB beetles lay their eggs in crevices of the bark of oak trees. The larvae eat
under the bark causing damage until they are mature and take flight. Since they can
live on a dead tree over one year, it is recommended that oak firewood not be
transported into the town since it is uncertain to the consumer if the wood harbors
larvae which will infect other trees once they emerge.
Many birds and mammals are impacted when an oak tree is killed. For me, the
Acorn Woodpecker is a symbol for protecting these trees but many others could also
be chosen. When we moved to Idyllwild, it was one of the first birds that I discovered.
Of course, it is hard to miss them when a group of them land on a tree greeting each
other loudly. I also learned through observation that they hang out together on a tree
covered in holes.
They are masters at drilling holes just the right size to store their acorns in their
“granary” tree. A family will work tirelessly to store thousands of acorns in a single tree
each Fall. They they will together defend their cache against potential thieves.
I noticed that their “granary” tree is usually right next to an oak tree.
Quite convenient! They are awesome birds to watch!
If you want to see more photos of nature and trails up in Idyllwild, you can visit
http://postcardsfromidyllwild.blogspot.com Robin Roberts