The alarming spread of the Shothole Borer

Shot hole borer

It has now been confirmed that the Shothole borer is spreading at an alarming rate.  It is time to put pressure onto the Municipality to issues directives re transport and disposal of the infected trees, also to provide a suitable area for dumping where it can be burned under Municipal supervision.

The first sighting of borer infestation was  found  a few years ago when the Municipality  cut down English Oaks which they identified as hosts of these bugs. 

The big worry is that the borer has now infected various indigenous species, especially Yellowwoods, Coastal Coral Trees, Fountain Bush, Cape Willow, False Olive … the list goes on. 

See below the communique issued by the Cape Green Forum:

Paul Barker of Arderne Gardens, has been very involved with research, awareness and information sharing of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer/Fusarium Dieback (PSHB), particularly in the Western Cape.

He wrote the following mail asking retailers to actively work together to reduce its’ rapid spread….

The PSHB disease was picked up in 2017 in KNZ, it has subsequently been spread to Gauteng, Bloemfontien, the Southern Cape (George & Knysna) and now has been confirmed in the Western Cape. The rapid spread of PSHB can be attributed to facilitated transport of infested wood and plants by the informal and formal sector. The beetle can travel in infested fire wood and plant material of the host species. List attached.

To ensure that this beetles spread is not facilitated any further by transport of host material, the retail sector is asked to adopt the following steps:

1) Suspend distribution and transport of wood and plants of the host species for the PSHB and/or phase out these threats until an alternative source is found. (Charcoal and brickets are not a concern here, they are the solution to a reduced wood supply.)

2) Discuss this threat with their suppliers and ask the suppliers to undertake an agreement not to transport the wood and plant host materials.

3) Educate employees about the threat, how to identify the symptoms of PSHB and how to mange it.

4) Make their consumers aware of the threat, how to manage it and where to report it Cape Town

Please take a look at these websites:

Forestry Agriculture Biotechnology Institute

Cape Town Invasive Unit:

Report PSHB in Cape Town:

It is hoped that this letter is met with favour and that together, the retail sector, government and civil society can reduce the spread of this invasive beetle.

Best wishes,
Paul Barker

Mobile: +27-71-169-0963