Most human beings get vaccinated against deadly diseases. It’s taken a lot of scientific research, trial, and error to find what works with our bodies to make sure we don’t fall victim to these diseases. Even our pets get vaccinated from things like rabies and distemper. With the looming beetle infestation of our trees some researchers are contemplating the idea of shots for trees:

UC Riverside’s Akif Eskalen pointed to a pattern of small holes in the bark of a majestic California sycamore tree growing in a Riverside park and lamented that it will be dead in about two years.

The holes are the work of invaders from Southeast Asia, beetles smaller than a sesame seed that probably hitched a ride to the Golden State in packing wood.

First discovered but misidentified in 2003 in Los Angeles County, the beetles have since infested at least 49 species of trees in seven Southern California counties, said Eskalen, a plant pathology professor. They also have infested avocado groves, where they don’t kill the trees but cause branches to die back.
The polyphagous shot hole borer, and its lookalike cousin, the Kuroshio shot hole borer, are so called because they leave trees peppered with tell-tale holes that look like someone blasted their trunks with bird shot. They kill trees by spreading and nurturing a deadly species of Fusarium fungus that serves as their sole food source.

The scale of its infestation is troubling. One estimate says that beetles have struck about 280,000 trees in San Diego County’s Tijuana River Valley. But that’s just one of many areas of infestation.

“It is spreading so fast, I cannot put it in numbers,” Eskalen said.

The beetles move from tree to tree along Southern Californian’s woody riverbed habitats, increasing their reach in these corridors about two to eight miles a year, he said. They have worked their way up the Santa Ana River bed in Orange and Riverside counties, this year reaching Riverside’s Fairmount and Martha McLean-Anza Narrows parks.

One female shot hole borer can produce about 30 offspring during her 30-day lifespan.


These nasty little bugs are just doing what comes naturally to them, but it has a detrimental side effect on our trees. How the beetles got here is yet to be truly determined but we can’t erase the fact that they’re hear. If these shots work, we won’t have to worry about removing infested trees and will be able to maintain our greenery. If you have infested trees you may want to contact professionals to report the infestation and then look at getting the tree(s) removed: Acting early can save you a lot of hassle in the future, as you do have to understand that these kind of tree diseases can be contagious. While it’s not guaranteed, of course, one diseased tree may act like a domino – infecting other trees and shrubs in the area.

You do not want to end up with a devastated yard, so vigilance is always necessary when it comes to tree diseases and infestations.