An exotic pest native to South East Asia is causing havoc in some of our favourite parks, leading to an “unprecedented biosecurity response.”
Earlier this week the WA Government was urging the community to help stop the spread of the polyphagous shot-hole borer, first detected in Fremantle in mid-2021.
“It’s not clear how this destructive borer made its way into WA, but it is clear that we need everyone to follow the strict biosecurity rules at our airports and borders, to keep unwanted pests out,” said Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis.
“An unprecedented biosecurity response has been underway for more than two years to stem the spread of this pest.”
About 20 trees have already been removed from Kings Park this month, with further removal to be undertaken in Lake Claremont, Perth Zoo and Hyde Park, where up to 20% of the trees are expected to be cut down.
The beetle tunnels into trees and plants a fungus that blocks water and nutrient transport within them, which slowly kills the trees.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) staff have already inspected over 1.5 million trees across 50,000 properties, along with deploying 3,000 traps to help track the borer – the biggest surveillance program in the Department’s history.
How can you help?
There is a quarantine area covering most of the Perth metro area, and the department has urged residents to be aware of restrictions on the movement of wood and plant material from properties, along with keeping an eye out for signs of the borer and reporting it to the My Pest Guide Reporter app/website.
Symptoms include tiny holes in a tree trunk, discolouration, staining or sawdust.
“Download the My Pest Guide Reporter app or go to the website, snap a photo of anything that looks out of the ordinary, and report your discovery,” said Mount Lawley MLA Simon Millman.
“Your reports could help identify a possible infestation and save our beautiful trees.”
“Along with the Member for Mount Lawley Simon Millman, I will be holding a community engagement forum in my electorate on Monday, 19 February 2024 to ensure the community is and remains informed and engaged,” added Perth MLA John Carey.
“This is an ongoing response, and we must do everything we can to help stop the spread.”
Image Credit: Perth is OK!