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Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Tree-killing bug invades Southern California, with no answer in sight
Tree-killing bug invades Southern California, with no answer in sight

Akif Eskalen steps through the dense, damp leaves in a wooded neighborhood, scrutinizing the branches around him. He's looking for evidence of an attack: tiny wounds piercing the bark and sap dried around them like bloodstains. The victims are box elders, sycamores and coast live oaks, all in some state of suffering. Eskalen approaches a tree riddled with 1-millimeter holes, as if someone used it for miniature target practice. It's time to nab a perp. He selects a hole, pulls out a large knife and expertly levers out a chunk of wood. There, in his hand, is a glossy beetle no larger than a sesame seed: the polyphagous shot hole borer. Though small and sluggish, its appetites...

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