Featured News

Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) Training Workshop

Heuristic Guru just hosted the first Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) Training Workshop in Sandton at Workshop 17. Huge thanks to all contributors toward this body of knowledge during the course of the past year, and also to Prof. Wilhelm de Beer from FABI (University of Pretoria) for his great efforts.

Read the article here

Hilton Fryer

Carte Blanche – Shot Hole Borer Beetle

Excellent Carte Blanche coverage on the Shot Hole Borer, and a very useful infographic on their website. #CarteBlanche #PSHB

Shot Hole Borer Beetle: What You Need to Know – Carte Blanche – Shot Hole Borer Beetle

READ the article on the Carte Blanche Website that has practical information on what to do.

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.

Carte Blanche – Evicting Alien Borer Beetles

WATCH the Carte Blanche video here

For South Africa, globalisation has come at a price – pests like the tiny polyphagous shot hole borer beetle are invading fruit trees, natural forests around the country, and one of the world’s largest urban forests – Johannesburg.

Carte Blanche

TheConversation.com – The spread of shothole borer beetles in South Africa is proving tough to control

“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

Yale.edu – Beetle Mania: The Nasty Insect That Is Killing the Trees of Johannesburg

“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.”

Adam Welz

SABC News – Mobile App to report PSHB infestation

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.

Francis Herd

ITWeb.co.za – New app helps tackle tree threats in SA

Sabahle Malinga

DailyMaverick.co.za – Tree apocalypse looms in the face of policy paralysis

Tree apocalypse looms in the face of policy paralysis

Hilton Fryer

LinkedIn.com – Can technology and data save South Africa’s trees?

“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.”

Hilton Fryer

SABC News – Beetle that kills SA trees: Prof. Wilhelm de Beer

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.

Francis Herd
SABC Digital News

Al Jazeera – Beetle infestation threatens Johannesburg’s forests

“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.”

Fahmida Miller
Al Jazeera English

PSHB.co.za – Shot Hole Borer in South Africa

“Whiteboard video explaining the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) crisis in South Africa. Visit www.PSHB.co.za for info. Thanks to the Quick2draw.co.uk team for creating the video.”

Hilton Fryer

MoneyWeb.co.za – Tree-borer beetle found in Northern Cape pecans

“The beetle is a threat to a range of crops, including avocado, macadamias, peaches and oranges and grapevines.”

Alastair Reed and Felix Njini, Bloomberg


To view all South African PSHB articles view the news archive