Gauteng News

Beetle invades Johannesburg City Park Zoo

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) began the removal of forty-two dead Acer negendo commonly referred to as Boxelder maple tree, in Craighhall Park Johannesburg.


Community Development MMC Nonhlanhla Sifumba said that the forest and education are aimed at removing dead trees that have succumbed to Fusarium dieback, after being infested by the Polyphagus Shot Hole Borer (PSHB).


“PSHB is an aggressive ambrosia beetle native to Southeast Asia, first detected in South Africa in 2017 and in Johannesburg 2018. While the borer beetle itself does not kill the tree, it introduces a fungus that consequently blocks the vascular system. This may lead to tree’s rapid or gradual dieback”, she said.

Sifumba added that in recent weeks, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has come under the spotlight for not responding speedily to residents and tree-maintenance providers. This was to eradicate all PSHB infested hosts and reproductive trees. She added that full list of affected species is available on


However, Johannesburg City Parks Managing Director Bryne Maduka said the impact of removing city’s trees cape in the absence of scientists from FABI finalizing their study, is irresponsible and premature.

Maduka added that affected trees will be cut and safely transported to the nearest tree depot where the chipped material will be covered in a study plastic to allow for the solarisation process, which will destroy the beetle. He said that the process will be monitored over a six-month period, before the wood chippings are re-used as mulch or compost.


“Residents should monitor their private trees as well as street trees. For symptoms of beetle they should report sightings to 011 375 5555.  Symptoms include shot, holes on trees, wet-spots, frass and oozing, that is noodle-like resin. Most affected area are Craighall, Hurlingham and Dunkeld. Currently there is no approved chemical application in South Africa to cure the PSHD. Residents should not use any chemical which has potential to cause more harm to the environment. Use of unapproved chemical cause contamination of ground water, loss of animal habit and death of pollinating insects such as bees”, said Mduka.


He advised residents to remove dead branches and dead trees on their private properties. They should also keep their trees fertilized and watered as a healthy tree is more resistant to diseases and infections.



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