Science / Medicine : Eucalyptus Threat Spreads

Millions of Southern California's eucalyptus trees are being threatened by a deadly borer beetle from Australia, and the pest is spreading, a forestry official said.

The brownish-black pest, called the eucalyptus longhorn borer, has spread from the San Fernando Valley into the San Clarita Valley and Ventura County within the last two months, according to Joe Ferrara of the Los Angeles County Forestry Division.

The borer first was spotted in the state near El Toro in Orange County in October, 1984. Since then, it has spread into Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, Ferrara said.

Researchers at UC Riverside are studying natural predators that might safely stop the spread of the insect, he said.

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