Beetle

Invasive species

May 4, 2023

Invasive species are a growing concern across the globe, and South Africa is no exception. One such species that has recently been making headlines is the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle. This tiny beetle, no bigger than a sesame seed, may seem harmless, but it can cause significant damage to trees, and residents should be vigilant in monitoring their trees for signs of infestation.

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle is an invasive species that has made its way to South Africa from Asia. It attacks a wide range of trees, including avocado, oak, and London plane trees, among others. The beetle creates tunnels in the tree’s bark, where it lays its eggs, and introduces a fungus that feeds on the tree’s tissue. As the fungus grows, it blocks the tree’s transport system, preventing the flow of water and nutrients. This can lead to the tree’s eventual death, and in turn, pose a significant risk to the environment, biodiversity, and human health.

It is, therefore, crucial that residents inspect their trees regularly for signs of infestation by the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle. The first signs of infestation are usually small holes in the tree’s bark, about the size of a pinprick. These holes may be accompanied by sawdust-like frass or sap oozing from the bark. If you notice these signs, it is essential to act quickly and contact the City of Cape Town Municipality.

The City’s Invasive Species Unit is responsible for managing invasive species in Cape Town, and they have put together a comprehensive Invasive Tree Bug Awareness Notice, which provides detailed information on the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle and other invasive species. Residents who want to learn more about the Invasive Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle and other invasive species can visit the City of Cape Town Municipality’s Invasive Species Programme webpage at https://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Activities-and-programmes/Nature-and-environment/invasive-species-programme.

The website contains a wealth of information on how to identify and report invasive species, and it provides updates on the City’s efforts to manage and control these species. By staying informed and taking action, residents can help to protect South Africa’s natural resources and biodiversity for generations to come.

In conclusion, the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle poses a significant threat to South Africa’s trees, biodiversity, and human health. Residents should take the time to inspect their trees regularly for signs of infestation, and if they suspect that their tree is infected, report the sighting to the City of Cape Town Municipality using the links provided. By working together, we can help to protect our environment and ensure that South Africa’s trees remain healthy for generations to come.

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