South Africa under threat from Shot Hole Borer beetle

An invader from Asia is posing a serious threat to ornamental and fruit trees in South Africa. The Polyphagos (Shot Hole Borer beetle) might only be 2 mm long but it carries with it several fungus species. One in particular, Fusarium euwallacea, will eventually kill a beetle infested tree. There are no known natural controls nor insecticides that will effectively kill infestations of this beetle.

Of great concern is that infestations of the Shot Hole Borer have been found in an avenue of London Plane trees in the KZN National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg. Not only does this beetle pose a threat to both certain exotic ornamental trees but of greater concern is the fact that it invades and will eventually kill a number of indigenous trees as well as certain commercially grown nut and fruit trees.

This has serious environmental and economic implications for South Africa’s indigenous forests as well as for agriculture.

As described on, an appeal has been made to the public to be vigilant of the symptoms indicating the presence of Shot Hole Borer. These vary from patches of white, powdery wood around the tree or on the trunk, blotches of oozing resin at the beetles’ entrance hole and/or small raised lesions on the bark.

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