Beetle Epidemic is a Management Issue
28 September 2019
The polyphagous shot hole borer beetle is a 2mm long insect that is native to Southeast Asia. It carries a fungus with called Fusarium euwallacea which is part of the beetle’s food. The fungus is deadly to many trees in South Africa of both the alien and indigenous varieties. The Borer beetle was discovered in Durban several years ago and has now been spotted in Johannesburg, Cape Town and even Limpopo. Experts warn that thousands of trees are risk of being destroyed by the pest including historic oaks in the Cape and the flora of the Kruger National Park.
Although many technical solutions have been suggested for the treatment of the beetle, the best practice response internationally has been intensive management of the problem. I interviewed Julian Ortlepp of the Borer Action Group to find out, how to spot the beetle, how it got into South Africa, how many trees are going to die and what needs to happen on a government and policy in order to stop it.
Benji Shulman is a broadcaster on 101.9 ChaiFM, find him on twitter at @benji_Shulman