“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.
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
“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.
SABC Digital News
“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.”
Al Jazeera English
“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.”
“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