A new, invasive insect that has caused the removal of hundreds of trees in Perth could attack much-loved species such as Moreton Bay figs if it escapes quarantine zones. While the east coast has been responding to the incursion of the varroa mite in bees, Western Australia has been managing another invasive insect known as the polyphagous shot-hole borer (PSHB).
The beetle, native to south-east Asia, burrows into trees and spreads a fungus that can kill the host. It was first detected in a tree in Perth in September last year and has since spread to 200 locations in Perth’s western suburbs.
The WA government has been containing the spread with quarantine zones in 21 local government areas in Perth, restricting the movement of any wood or green waste material that could host the borer.
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