I am aware of my passion for trees when discussing their care, and particularly in this case, trying to save them from sure death.
In “Pest Notes” at www.GSOB.org in the “Biological Control” section, it states, “Three primary natural enemies have been associated with GSOB [Goldspotted Oak Borer] …”
But your article on the front page of Homes & Land Improvement 2013 states “… no native California predator …” I feel those phrases are contradictory to each other regardless of the use of phrases like “currently believed,” “significant levels” and “no defense.”
Also, I have heard from several people that the Town Crier article is causing them confusion because of the insecticidal options.
They want to save their trees and will invest the money to do so if there is even a chance it will work. Each individual must be given the opportunity to decide if it is cost-effective as that is a subjective decision. And in reality, the cost is a lot less than most people think.
Of course, this depends on the integrity (and overhead) of the professional they talk to.
While the language in the article is technically correct, there is no scientifically proven treatment for 100-percent control for this particular pest. This is why Kevin Turner, Goldspotted Oak Borer program coordinator, UC Cooperative Extension, University of California, Riverside, and others cannot legally tell you there is because their study on the GSOB is not complete. It could take years for that research to be complete and then it may be too late.
The article comes across as being fatalistic — there is no hope, don’t even try. Most people are not going to wait around for their trees to die until a certain study is complete.
The research proving success in treating other tree-killing insects with similar physiology and behavior, such as the Emerald Ash Borer, are basically the same. The biggest difference is the “cook following the recipe.”
Of course it works more effectively on trees that have not been affected yet or have been only moderately affected. Again, is this “no defense”?
The GSOB.org website under “Pest Notes, Chemical Control” explains all the options, albeit with numerous disclaimers in the wording that legally and ethically they are obligated to do until they have the definitive results, which it sounds like you are looking for.
I totally understand that we want to protect the community from unscrupulous vendors capitalizing on people’s fears. And I know I am biased, but certified arborists have the most knowledge when it comes to trees and their care.
So, from my perspective, we can’t say definitively there is a treatment that will work 100 percent every time, nor can we say that there is no treatment that will work.
We have a wonderful community filled with honest and caring people (as I believe we both are) and another opportunity to work together to solve a common problem. If we have success in saving at least some of our oaks, the ramifications of passing on this information to other communities so they can save some of their oaks would be awesome.
ISA Certified Arborist