6 million trees may die due to borer beetles

A beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South African trees.

The polyphagous shot hole borer beetle from South East Asia, which is believed to have entered the country in a shipment, penetrates the tree and injects a fungus in the tree which it needs to do in order to survive.

The fungus is what causes trees to die.

Ray White spoke to Julian Ortlepp, founder of Tree Works Group, to find out more.

We think it is from Vietnam and the only way it could have entered the country in my opinion is through a shipment of some sorts through one of our ports or borders. To find which way it did get into the country is now virtually impossible.

Julian Ortlepp, Founder of Tree Works Group

We are currently working to try and establish the best way to treat this. Right now we are doing direct injections into trees, spraying trees to try and repel trees which are now susceptible to it. We are still trying to understand through the University of Pretoria, the life cycle of this beetle, which is very important if you want to try and manage and control it.

Julian Ortlepp, Founder of Tree Works Group

Click on the link below to listen to hear more from Ortlepp:


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