The infestation and spread of the the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) beetle on trees have been escalating at an alarming rate in South Africa!
The beetle bores tunnels into tree trunks forming and spreading the fungus Fusarium Euwallaceae. Effectively it cuts off the trees’ vascular system, leaves begin to thin on the ends of the branches, eventually turning brown, leading to the branch and eventually the tree dies.
If this problem is not addressed, the bug infestation will spread to other trees.
Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) beetle
Native to Southeast Asia, this beetle uses the fungus as a food source for the adults and their larvae.
The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle enter the trees through the bark. They create tunnels lined with a layer of spores of the fungus they carry. The males are generally lighter in colour and smaller than females.
This is what they look like:
How do I know my tree has been infected?
The Shot Hole Borer burrows into different trees in burrows smaller than a ballpoint pen tip.
Depending on the tree, the signs of infestation differs. It could be sawdust collecting on the bark and around the base of the tree, in other trees there may be oozing of liquid and gum from the beetle holes.
What can I do?
Until recently it was believed that the only solution to control the spread of the beetle is to remove breeding trees and destroy these in a safe and dedicated place.
A new eco-friendly pesticide solution penetrates the cell wall of the fungus, destroying the fungus without harm to the tree.
Without the fungus to feed on, beetles face starvation which help curb the damage caused by and spread of these pesky critters. The treatment is non-toxic and won’t harm the trees.
It is too early to tell long term results, but for those wishing to take proactive measures soonest against this pest; Service Master is able to offer this treatment involving a weekly treatment to the affected tree for 6 weeks.
For more information, please feel free to contact us.