The City of Cape Town has warned residents that a tree infested with the invasive polyphagous shot hole borer beetle (PSHB) was discovered on a private property in Newlands on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Eddie Andrews, confirmed that a PSHB beetle infestation was first discovered in Oldenland Road, Somerset West, in an ailing London plane in March 2019. Only trees in the Somerset West area have been affected and removed to date.
“We are extremely concerned about this latest sighting in Newlands, as to date we have managed to contain the invasive Asian borer beetle to the Somerset West area with the assistance and cooperation of residents.”
“Officials from the City’s Invasive Species Unit are currently on site to assess the situation to determine the extent of the infestation and the number of affected trees.”
“The City is assisting the owner with the handling of the biomass, and the wood from the tree must be chipped on site and carefully removed under cover of heavy-duty plastic and incinerated at an appropriate site,” he said.
While the City will only know how many trees have been infested once the assessment has been concluded, it confirmed that at least one Boxelder had been impacted.
“I encourage residents in the Newlands area to please inspect the trees on their properties for possible beetle infestations, in particular Boxelders.”
“Sightings must be reported to the City as soon as possible so that we can prevent the spreading. More information is available on the City’s website, as well as a form to report sightings. By working together we can contain this beetle,” said Andrews.
The City’s Invasive Species Unit, in cooperation with the City’s Recreation and Parks Department, as well as local arborists and the country’s top entomologists, developed a protocol prescribing the best practice for how to remove and dispose of trees infested with PSHB.