The polyphagous shot hole borer has invaded and damaged thousands of trees in other parts of the country and now experts think it could make its way to Cape Town and damage indigenous and exotic trees.
Professor Wilhelm De Beer of the University of Pretoria, who is part of a collaborative research team that is focused on the beetle, said drought-stressed trees such as the oak which are a permanent feature in towns such as Stellenbosch could be wiped out in the next 10 years.
“My prediction is that in the next five to 10 years Stellenbosch will look different. As is, the oak trees are not in a happy state because of the drought,” he said.
The City’s Recreation and Parks Department, together with the Invasive Species Unit, has an operational plan to deal with the borer, which is smaller than a sesame seed.