“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
“In an August media release, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) informed farmers and the public of the detection of a new pest of concern – the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle. So far, it has been identified across the country, including slightly north of Polokwane, and more recently in the Kruger National Park.”
“A tiny pest has reached Durban and is responsible for mysterious fungal die-offs of trees, from indigenous forest trees to fruit trees like avocados.”
“THE Botanical Society of South Africa KZN Coastal Branch presents Responding to the Polyphagous Shot-hole Borer infestation, an illustrated talk by Johan Bodenstein, on Monday, 29 October at Durban Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre at 5.30pm for 6pm.”
“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 draws some interesting parallels between the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) beetle crisis in South Africa with experiences from the PSHB infestation discovered in California 10 years ago. Adam Welz is a South African writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Cape Town. His work includes an award-winning film about eccentric birders in New York City and exposés of environmental crime throughout southern Africa. He writes about international and African wildlife issues for Yale Environment 360.
“The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PHSB) and Fusarium dieback is a new insect-disease complex threatening South Africa. Up to 60 species of alien and indigenous trees are under threat, including avocado trees. Do you have shot hole borer damage in your trees?”
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.
“Local tree enthusiasts are bracing themselves as it has emerged that the admired 110-year-old Plane trees that line the avenue at the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens in Mayor’s Walk are being threatened by invasive beetles spreading to trees throughout South Africa.”