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Beetle pest spreading steadily<p>​</p><p>The beetle was discovered outside of the Somerset West area for the first time on 24 January 2023 with the sighting of an infested Boxelder tree on a private property along Kildare Road in Newlands. Since then, more sightings have been reported in Newlands, Rondebosch, Mowbray, Claremont, and also along the Liesbeek River corridor.</p><p> </p><p>Unfortunately, we can now confirm that the beetle has found its way to Observatory along the Liesbeek River and Kenilworth where more sightings of infested Boxelder trees have been reported to the City.</p><p> </p><p>'This is extremely alarming and confirms our worst fear: that the pest is spreading and that we will probably discover more sightings in more areas as the weeks go by. By 21 February 2023, we have recorded a total number of 128 infested trees.</p><p> </p><p>'The PSHB poses a serious threat to Cape Town's urban forest as infested trees have to be chipped. All trees are under threat, from those on private properties to those along our roads, on verges, in our parks and at wine farms. I want to urge private property owners, and wine farm owners in particular, to be on high alert as infestations of oak trees have been confirmed at wine farms outside of the City's boundaries. </p><p> </p><p>'This is a very small beetle, but the potential damage is at scale. I am urging residents to be on the lookout for symptoms and owners of nurseries and landscapers should do the same. We cannot afford to be complacent,' said the City's Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Eddie Andrews.</p><p> </p><p><strong>What to look out for and symptoms of infested trees:</strong></p><ul><li>Branch dieback – cracks on the branch; discoloured leaves; dry and leafless branches; branch break-off revealing webs of galleries filled with black fungus</li><li>Gumming – blobs of goo coming out of the bark; oozing of liquid and gum from the beetle holes</li><li>Entry and exit holes – very small holes on the bark of the tree, the size of a sesame seed (2mm); shotgun-like scars developing around the holes</li><li>Staining – brow or dark stains on the bark of the tree<br><br> </li></ul><p><strong>Important: infested trees may not be removed from the property as the removal of the chipped wood will spread the pest to other areas. Do not buy and move fire wood from areas where trees are infested.</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>The PSHB beetle can easily spread across suburbs if extra precaution is not taken. Apart from infected wood, the beetle can also spread through clothing, vehicle crevices, or unclean horticultural equipment. </p><p> </p><p>It is also worthy to note that the use of pesticides and fungicides have not proven effective at eradicating PSHB from infected trees.</p><p> </p><p><strong>How to report PSHB beetle sightings</strong></p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>Online, at <a href="" target="_blank"></a></li><li>Call the City of Cape Town's Invasive Species Unit on 021 444 2357, Monday to Friday, from 07:30 to 16:00</li><li>Send an email to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>What to do:</strong></p><ul><li>Chip the tree, place the infested material in refuse bags, seal it and put these in direct sunlight for at least six weeks </li><li>Dump the chips in your compost heap as the heat build-up will kill the beetle</li><li>Burn infected wood at appropriate incineration facilities</li><li>Seek assistance from trained and equipped service providers with sound knowledge of PSHB</li><li>Do not move plant/tree material/firewood outside of areas where PSHB has been confirmed to be present to other areas</li><li>Do not transport any form of green waste in open vehicles, cover it with sail covers even if no PSHB has been identified as such green waste.</li><li>Clean tools and equipment used to trim/cut/prune plants </li></ul><p> </p><p>The City will try its best to respond within 10 working days to verify a reported sighting. However, the response time will depend on the number of sightings reported.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p><strong>End</strong></p><p><br></p>2023-02-21T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#5ddbe605-1355-4391-9598-bd9534f9f179;L0|#05ddbe605-1355-4391-9598-bd9534f9f179|Invasive Alien Species;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb10

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