15 February 2023
Statement by Stellenbosch Municipal Manager
Ms Geraldine Mettler
Stellenbosch Municipality encourages residents to help us in identifying trees that are possibly infested with the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB or Stompkopkewer).
The PSHB has been positively identified within the boundaries of the WCO24. All necessary engagement with experts from the Stellenbosch University Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology and the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as other government organisations takes place on a regular basis. Stellenbosch Municipality has been proactive in this matter by compiling a PSHB Contingency Plan to manage and prevent the spread of the beetle.
In 2022, only two infested trees were positively identified in our municipal area – both on private properties. An infested tree has now also been positively identified in the Stellenbosch CBD area. This tree has already been felled.
Once this beetle has been found in a tree, the tree must be felled, wood must be chipped and smothered under black bags/plastic for a period of 6 months or longer and only then removed or destroyed by incineration.
Wood from an infested tree should never be moved to another location as this provides the beetle with a means of locating and infecting other trees.
If you suspect that a tree is infested, please contact us immediately for appropriate action to be taken.
Some of the signs of an infested tree to look out for:
• Tiny, randomly spaced holes in the tree bark;
• Saw dust or a light wooden powder on or around a tree;
• Fusarium (fungus) staining;
• Wilted or missing leaves;
• Dead or dying branches;
• Glue/Sap discharged from the holes; and
• Light Spots on the tree bark.
While we are concerned about this latest sighting, we have thus far successfully managed to contain the spread of the invasive PSHB beetle.
Officials from our Community Services Department are continuously inspecting trees and responding to calls from the public on possible sightings of this beetle.
We encourage residents to please inspect the trees on their properties for possible beetle infestations and to inform us immediately if they suspect that a tree is infested.