Woodpecker stores over 700 pounds of acorns in walls of California home, pest control company says

"It's a one in a million chance to find something this significant."

ByCheri Mossburg, CNN, CNNWire
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
700 lbs of acorns found in walls of CA home by pest control company
EMBED <>More Videos

A Santa Rosa pest control company says a woodpecker stored over 700 lbs of acorns in a California home.

GLEN ELLEN, Calif. -- A pair of California woodpeckers are surely crushed after a pest control technician on a routine call recently found their massive trove of acorns cleverly stashed in the walls of a California home.

The Sonoma County homeowners called on Nick Castro, owner of Nick's Extreme Pest Control, when they spotted worms coming from a bedroom wall. They turned out to be mealworms, feasting on an incredible hoard of acorns, believed to be amassed by a pair of aptly named acorn woodpeckers.

"It was really strange. I had never really seen worms with acorns before," Castro told CNN. But the weirdness was just beginning.

After making a small 4-inch-square hole in the wall, Castro said the acorns began spilling out. That alone wouldn't be terribly unusual, but they "just kept coming," he said.

"It was pretty incredible to see the amount," said Castro. He estimates there were at least 700 pounds of acorns, likely collected over the past two to five years.

Often woodpeckers store acorns on the outside of homes, sometimes in rain gutters, but rarely do they get them inside. In this case, Castro discovered the birds dropped their treasures through a hole in the chimney and entered the attic through a separate hole to feast on their stash.

"Every day there can be weird stuff, with the creative ways critters can get into homes," Castro said. "They still can fool us once in a while."

As they dropped from the attic, tens of thousands of acorns gathered from several nearby oak trees filled the cavity of the walls, Castro explained.

But this odd find took unusual to a whole new level for the man who has been working in the pest control industry for more than 20 years.

"On a scale from 1 to 10, this is a 10. It's a one in a million chance to find something this significant," said Castro. "I expected to find a few handfuls, nothing like this."

It took creating another three holes in the home's walls to remove all the acorns, which ultimately piled and reached about 20 feet high, Castro estimated.

Castro and his crew of three spent a full day extracting the nuts.

"We filled eight big black garbage bags. They were so heavy we could barely pick them up," said Castro. "They had to have weighed at least a hundred pounds each."

The acorns were thrown away as they were covered in droppings and bits of fiberglass from the wall's insulation.