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Print | The elderberry and the beetle
Post Letter to the Editor - Jun 30 2011
by Post Editor : letters@portervillepost.com

Dear Editor, I would like to shed a little light on this subject. If I err I am sure someone will correct me. I did a little research and turned up the following information.

The Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) is a medium-sized (about 2 cm long) beetle. This beetle is associated with elderberry trees (Sambucus spp.) in California's Central Valley during its entire life cycle.

The adults emerge in the spring from pupation inside the wood of these trees as they begin to bloom. The exit holes made by the emerging adults are distinctive, small oval openings. Often these holes are the only clue that the beetles occur in an area. The adults eat the elderberry foliage until about June when they mate.

The females lay their eggs in crevices in the bark. Upon hatching, the larvae then begin to tunnel into the tree where they will spend 1-2 years eating the interior wood, their sole source of food. They are said to be endangered.

This must be the reason Porterville has to spend all the money on elderberry trees. The beetle kills them off for food. Now I do know that elderberry jam and jelly is delicious.

Now I would like for someone to make me understand how our lives would be impacted if this beetle became extinct. I have never seen an Elderberry Beetle and probably never will in my lifetime.

Species have been becoming extinct since time began and here is what Wikipedia says: "Most extinctions have occurred naturally, without human intervention: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct."

So are we fighting something that is natural and in most cases unpreventable?

I think that the $50,000.00 would be better spent trying to eradicate rats, mice, moles, gophers and ground squirrels which causes millions of dollars of damage to crops and other things.

Thank You Very Much ... Bob Inabinette bobeye@hughes.net from Springville, CA.

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