Borer Beetle
Photo by Mahima via Pexels

Greenpop is helping South Africans take a stand against the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle which is destroying local trees by the thousands.


Cape Town, South Africa (24 March 2023) – Greenpop has issued a public service announcement to draw attention to the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle. They are helping South Africans to take a stand against the troublesome beetle.

Greenpop was founded in 2010 with the goal of planting more trees in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since then, the organisation has grown from strength to strength. Since 2010, Greenpop has planted over 206,818 trees around South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Part of their project has been more than just planting trees, it has been about restoring the forests that have disappeared over time. The United Nations saw this and selected the local organisation to join their Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

Now, all their efforts are at risk if the beetle isn’t brought under control in South Africa.

“It’s rapid spread is a cause for concern, especially in the Western Cape. Since arriving in South Africa in 2017, the PSHB has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of trees across the country!”

Which Trees Are Most Affected?

“The PSHB has an extremely large diversity of host trees, but they only reproduce in certain native and exotic species. The exotic species are at higher risk of being infected than native trees, although the beetle seems to be much more aggressive outside of its native habitat. Infected trees can contain more than 100 000 individual beetles!”

So how do you know if your trees are infested? Trees will start wilting and dying off. You will find tiny holes in the bark along with wood dust or leaking resin. The best course of action is to call in an arborist to officially diagnose it. The Western Cape is closely watching the situation and also asks that people report any cases. You can find details here.

However, there is also a team of scientists tracking its movements. You can submit your findings on iNaturalist.

“To help the Cape Town Invasive Species Unit and researchers track the spread of PSHB, citizen science platforms like iNaturalist are critical tools to involve citizens in reducing the impact of PSHB on our urban tree landscape.”

The Greenpop team lists three arborists that have gained experience in dealing with the beetle.

There is much to be done and awareness about the problem is the first way to start addressing it. So please check the trees in your area and reach out to the various teams for confirmation should you suspect an infestation.

Source: Greenpop – Newsletter
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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