Polyphagous Shothole Borer
The Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PSHB) is an invasive insect that bores into wood and woody plants. The beetle was recently discovered in South Africa and poses a major threat to many indigenous and ornamental tree species throughout the country. The beetle is already widespread throughout South Africa, but efforts to slow its spread and contain outbreaks are critical for protecting South Africa’s exceptional biodiversity.
Please note that there are many species (likely more than 200 species) of wood boring beetles in South Africa. Therefore, most observations of damage are not actually caused by the PSHB, but a different beetle rather. Be cautious of claims that the PSHB is present in your area unless it has been confirmed by scientists at FABI.
The Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria provides many excellent resources about the beetle. We have included a few below, but we recommend exploring their site (https://www.fabinet.up.ac.za/index.php/pshb) to find the best and most-updated information available.
Additional Websites & Resources
Help us map the plants at risk in your neighborhood by adding observations of species in the iNaturalist projects linked below (click the maps). You can also help in a BIG way by checking the observed plants in your neighborhoods for symptoms of infection (see below).
The iNaturalist application is a powerful tool to collect and monitor observations. Please view the FABI Document: ‘How to photograph for diagnosis’, join the below project on iNaturalist and add your observations.
Officials from the City of Cape Town also recommend sharing observations and reporting possible cases using The Nature Conservancy’s application: Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities.
The Conservation Gateway is for the conservation practitioner, scientist and decision-maker. Here we share the best and most up-to-date information we use to inform our work at The Nature Conservancy.