As if our mountain trees weren’t threatened enough by insect pests (you only have to drive through Crestline to see all the dead pines), a new and growing threat has been spotted around Big Bear. This dangerous insect threat is to our oaks.
It’s the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) and this nasty bug has been steadily moving north from San Diego.
According to the University of California, as of 2010, GSOB has killed an estimated 21,500 trees covering 1,893 square miles in San Diego County in forests, parks and residential landscapes.
One of the major causes for the pest’s spread seems to be folks buying firewood from people selling wood from the curbside, then bringing it up to mountain homes or rental properties.
“This group of beetles are very good fliers and can fly up to 10 miles at a time, but commonly stay near its food source (oak trees),” according to UC warnings. “However, moving firewood can introduce this beetle into additional areas of California. Please, do not move firewood!”
A friend of mine, a retired San Bernardino County deputy sheriff now living in Crestline, has been following the threat from the GSOB. We had coffee recently at Higher Grounds, and he said the threat is becoming more serious to our mountain oaks, especially now that the beetle has been found around Big Bear.
“The threat is because of people buying firewood from down the hill and bringing it up here,” he told me.
It’s illegal to sell firewood from roadside vendors, he added, noting that such activity is regulated by county ordinances. He called it “hawking” and hawking is prohibited.
“The bottom line, however, is that it is highly unlikely that any roadside firewood vendor is licensed, and highly unlikely that any roadside firewood vendor would be in compliance with these (county) regulations,” he said.
He was referring to how firewood should be sold to the public, and the county has those requirements spelled out.
He told me he’s seen hawking of firewood along Highway 18 in Rimforest and other communities. There’s no way to know where that firewood came from. He showed me a photo he took of firewood being sold from a parked trailer, with a handmade $25 sign next to the trailer tire. According to county ordinance, that’s illegal, he said.
“I truly believe that enforcement of these (county) ordinances and regulations would be a significant contribution to the effort to prevent introduction of infected wood into San Bernardino County, and any other areas that restrict this activity,” he added.
According to UC experts, there are no effective tools for protecting trees once GSOB infestation occurs.
Bits and pieces…
Be sure to get your tickets for Steaks at the Lake, Oct. 18 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the San Moritz Lodge in Crestline. New this year is live lobster cooked on site to complement that dry-aged steak from Goodwin and Son’s Market.
Sponsored by the Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club, tickets are available at www.crestlinerotary.com, LakeView Realty, Goodwin’s Market. There will be music by Little Bear Valley Blues, dancing, a silent auction and lots of fun.
Also, plan to attend the Breast Cancer Awareness event set for Oct. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Mountains Community Hospital Rose Garden. Sponsored by the MCH Skilled Nursing Facility, there will be speakers and you can pick up information on the importance of mammograms and enjoy some goodies. I had a very dear friend of mine die from breast cancer and I still carry her memory with me, more than 38 years after her passing. She would want me to tell you how important early detection and treatment is. Breast cancer is nothing to take lightly.