South Africa has discovered the polyphagous shot hole borer, a tiny beetle that drills holes in trees and leaves a deadly fungus, in pecan trees in the country’s Northern Cape province.
The beetle is a threat to a range of crops in South Africa including avocado, macadamias, peaches and oranges, as well as grapevines, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in an emailed statement.
“The pest bores into the wood, transmitting the fungal pathogen in the process and the entire tree may die because of the fungal rot,” it said.
While chemical control, usually through injecting infested trees with fungicides and insecticides, may prove to be an effective control, it may be expensive, the agriculture department said.
Studies conducted in other countries indicated that “it is not a pest of concern for commercial citrus production,” said Vaughan Hattingh, chief executive officer at Citrus Research International.