Be on the look-out for the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Beetle

The Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer (PSHB) is a tiny invasive black beetle from Asia that has recently arrived in South Africa. It is smaller than a sesame seed but can have a devastating effect on trees. The beetles make tunnels in the trunks and branches of trees and lay their eggs inside. The female beetles carry a fungus (Fusarium euwallaceae) from tree to tree that grows in their tunnels and disrupts the flow of water and nutrients to the tree causing branch die-back and ultimately the death of the tree.

These beetles tend to favour Box Elders but have also shown interest in Oak trees, both of which are uncommon along the Breede River Estuary. At this stage we are unaware of any infected trees in our area. However, given that the beetle is effectively dispersed through the transportation of lumber and wood, we ought to be vigilant and mitigate any potential outbreaks.

What can you do to help?

1. Purchase your fire and braai wood locally rather than distributing wood that may be contaminated with the invasive beetle.

2. Photograph, upload and identify potential shot-hole borer attacks on trees in your garden using iNaturalist.

3. Contact the LBRCT should you suspect your trees are infected.

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