Online resource for Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (euwallacea fornicatus)
We have just published the SHOT HOLE BORER “WHAT TO DO” GUIDE that contains a practical guideline on the options that are available for private residents to treat their own trees. This guide does not endorse any specific products, nor does it represent an easy solution to the PSHB crisis South Africa is currently experiencing.
The polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) was recently introduced into South Africa from East Asia. It is spreading rapidly within our urban forests and it is indiscriminately attacking our trees. The PSHB Infested tree’s vascular system begins to fail, leaves start to turn brown, eventually the tree dies.
The PSHB is very difficult to control if we don’t know where it is. You can help..!!
Private residents, community organisations, service providers and City Parks are joining hands to respond to the problem. Click here for recent events.
Infested and dead trees are a breeding ground for shot hole borer. Recent chemical tests indicate that one heavily infested tree contains over 100,000 beetles – these dead trees need to be removed and disposed of responsibly.
We need to fully notify government of the magnitude of this devastating invasion of this bug. Currently known area of established infestation are Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, George, Knysna and Hartwater.
Affected trees develop wilted brown leaves on infested branches. The most obvious sign of infestation is that branches have brown stains around each hole where the borer has penetrated the tree.
It is important to note that the borer beetle itself does not kill the tree. The problem is the fungus (Fusarium euwallaceae) that grows in the tunnels made by the borer. Fusarium dieback occurs when your tree’s vascular system becomes blocked, leaves begin to thin on the ends of branches, they turn brown, the branch and eventually the tree will die.
The following info sheet was compiled by FABI to assist with identification:
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The problem and how do I save my trees
Once the borer beetle infests a tree it lives it’s life-cycle deep inside the wood beyond the reach of surface application of pesticide treatments.
Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle (Euwallacea Fornicatus) interbreeds and creates entire colonies within the tunnel network from a single entrance hole within the tree.
The beetle and its larvae feed off fungus that grows inside the tunnels that it makes, insecticides are not particularly effective against it since it does not ingest the wood.
Indigenous and exotic trees are attacked – the PSHB is generally indiscriminate since is does not eat wood, rather it feeds on fungus that it introduces into it’s host tree. The fungus (Fusarium euwallaceae) grows in the tunnels made by the borer – it is the fungus that kills the tree. Fusarium dieback occurs when your tree’s vascular system begins to fail, leaves begin to thin on the ends of branches, they turn brown, the branch and eventually the tree will die.
Boxelder, London Plane, English Oak, Chinese Maple are attacked particularly hard.
“Contrary to belief, the beetle isn’t the direct cause of harm to the tree. Instead, the beetle releases a fungus called Fusarium euwallaceae.”
“A tiny alien invader is threatening South Africa’s trees. Called the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Beetle (or PSHB), this little critter is cause for huge concern. According to scientists, the PSHB has managed to wriggle its way into millions of trees across the world, and now it’s been spotted in local trees.”
Excellent Carte Blanche coverage on the Shot Hole Borer, and a very useful infographic on their website.
“A tiny tree-killing beetle with the awkwardly long name of Polyphagous Shothole Borer was detected in South Africa for the first time last year. It’s now attacking and inserting its deadly fungal ally, Fusarium euwallaceae, in a wider array of tree species across a much wider geographical area.”
“The beetle was initially discovered in a Botanical Garden on the country’s east coast. It has since been detected along the southern Cape coast line as well as in several inland urban areas. The number of tree species attacked in South Africa has also risen alarmingly. It currently stands at more than 80, 35 of which are native.”
Wilhelm de Beer – Associate Professor, University of Pretoria
Trudy Paap – Postdoctoral Fellow Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria
“South Africa’s largest city proudly notes that it has one of the world’s largest urban forests. But an invasive insect has been killing Johannesburg’s trees by the tens of thousands, and baffled experts are scrambling to find ways to stop it.”
It’s a Friday and time for our weekly tech feature called Techbase. And tonight we’re speaking to the developer of the mobile app that allows people to report infestations of the tiny beetle that is killing South African trees. Earlier we spoke to an academic involved in efforts to deal with the Polyphagous shot hole borer. It bores holes into tree trunks and then spreads a fungus it carries which cuts off the system that transports water and nutrients. It is impossible to tell how many trees have already died or will. The app is called “Tree Survey”, and the developer is Hilton Fryer.
“The polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB), a beetle that devastated green belts in California and avocado plantations in Israel, has been identified in South Africa. Containment is no longer possible, and institutions are now looking to control the infestation nationally. Policy and protocols need to be developed, however this takes time – spring has just arrived and the beetles are now flying.”
“Heuristic Guru, a data science consultancy, has partnered with Solution House, a software development company, to deploy the mobile app “Tree Survey” to report PSHB infestation to regional and national stakeholders. This incident management platform supports GIS reporting to enable PSHB infestation to be tracked within the country, which will allow municipalities to respond as the beetle reaches them.”
A tiny beetle is killing trees in South Africa. And fear is rising that Johannesburg’s massive manmade forest could be decimated.
The little beetle has a long name – the polyphagous shot hole borer.
It bores holes into tree trunks and then spreads a fungus it carries which cuts off the system that transports water and nutrients.
And the trees die. It has already reportedly infested large parts of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs as well as the West Rand and Bedfordview. And the government in the Northern Cape is concerned about the destruction of pecan nut trees.
To discuss we’re joined by Associate Professor in Microbiology at the University of Pretoria, Wilhelm de Beer.
“Johannesburg is home to one of the world’s largest urban forests, but it’s come under threat from a tiny beetle.
About 200 species of trees – many of them indigenous to South Africa – are afflicted with the pest and the fungus it carries. As scientists desperately look for a solution, many of the city’s trees are dying and experts are concerned the infestation could move from the forest to croplands next.”