QUARANTINE AREA NOW IN PLACE TO CONTAIN EXOTIC BORER

Published on Friday, 8 October 2021 at 3:01:00 PM

Industry Update #2

Issued Monday 11 October 2021

Background
A suspect Polyphagous shot-hole borer (PSHB) was reported by a resident in East Fremantle in August 2021.  PSHB is a tiny beetle that bores into living trees which can result in tree death. PSHB has a symbiotic relationship with the fungus Fusarium euwallaceae, which it cultivates in the tree as a food source for the beetle and its larvae.  The fungus disrupts water and nutrient movement of susceptible trees, causing the disease Fusarium dieback.

Additional testing has confirmed both the pest and the fungus F. euwallaceae.  This is the first confirmed detection of PSHB and associated fungus in Australia.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) declared a level 2 Incident on 8 September 2021 and commenced delimiting surveys to determine the spread of the pest. A Quarantine Area (QA) has been established in East Fremantle, and parts of Fremantle, North Fremantle, Palmyra and Bicton, to help contain the spread of the borer.  A detailed map is available at agric.wa.gov.au/borer.

Current situation
DPIRD is working closely with the local plant industries, councils and the community to conduct surveillance and tracing activities.  On 4 October 2021 a second detection of PSHB was confirmed 300 metres from the initial detection. Additional suspect detections are undergoing diagnostics in DPIRD laboratories. An initial trapping and surveillance grid covering 861.5 hectares has been established. This trapping array will expand as the surveillance program progresses. DPIRD is actively engaging with residents living in the quarantine area to increase community awareness and reporting.

Movement restrictions on green waste materials are in place within the quarantine area and DPIRD staff are engaging directly with the affected local governments and green waste collection contractors to manage the collections and establish a permit system. The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests met on 5 October 2021 to discuss the detection, and commended WA for actions undertaken to date and for providing a comprehensive situation update. The CCEPP agreed that PSHB meets the definition of an Emergency Plant Pest and that more information was required from delimiting surveillance to inform a decision on whether it is technically feasible to be eradicate. There are currently no domestic or international trade impacts due to this detection and DPIRD is currently undertaking an economic impact assessment for this pest.

What to look for

The adult beetles and larvae can be hard to spot as they spend most of their life inside a tree; however, there are several symptoms that indicate the borer could be present including:

• Multiple entrance holes on the trunk or branches that are up to 2 mm or the size of the tip on a ballpoint pen.

• Frass extruding from the tree and crystalline foam which look like sugar volcanoes exuding from the entry holes.

• Thick resin or sap on the tree’s branches or trunk. This can sometimes push the beetle out of the gallery.

• Dark brown to black staining of the wood around entrance holes.

• Wilting and dying branches and eventually tree death.

Symptoms usually start in the upper canopy. Reporting and further information Residents in East Fremantle and surrounding areas are asked to check their trees and shrubs for signs of beetle holes to DPIRD via the MyPestGuide Reporter app (Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store), or to the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080, or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

Polyphagous shot-hole borer Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions 

What can be placed in the FOGO bin?

Only lawn clippings, raked up leaves and pulled up weeds as well as food waste in compostable liners.

What can be placed on the verge?

The vergeside green waste collection has concluded. The next vergeside green waste collection is in March 2022.

Can I take my green waste to the mulching facility at SMRC in Bannister Road?

No, green waste is not to be removed from the quarantine area.

Can I take my green waste to the Waste Recovery Park at the City of Cockburn?

No, green waste is not to be removed from the quarantine area.

Can I take my green waste to the City of Fremantle Recycle Centre? 

At this stage the City of Fremantle is not accepting any green waste to reduce the potential spread of the PSHB

What items are potential hosts for the PSHB?

Bark, potted plants, firewood, tree prunings, logs, plant cuttings, mulch, timber wood and wood chips. These items are not to be removed from the quarantine area.

I have a gardener/arbourist coming to prune my trees. Is that Ok?

  • Yes, however please check the pruned material for evidence of borer. If you suspect borer please contact DPIRD on 93683080.
  • Note that the pruned material must be kept within your property for the duration of the quarantine period which is 6 months.
  • Any equipment used for tree lopping, gardening, mulching, wood chipping or handling green waste is to be retained within the quarantine area unless it has been thoroughly cleaned of all material with hot soapy water.

Report suspect PSHB infestation

DPIRD Pest and Disease Information Service

MyPestGuideTM

 

Map: A Quarantine Area Notice is now in place for parts of East Fremantle, Fremantle, North Fremantle, Palmyra and Bicton to prevent any potential spread of Polyphagous shot-hole borer.

Image: The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is calling on residents to support East Fremantle, Fremantle, North Fremantle, Palmyra and Bicton to support efforts to contain the potential spread of Polyphagous shot-hole borer

 Description of image

Photo 1

Residents are being asked to check their backyard trees for signs of borer damage including multiple entrance holes approximately the size of ballpoint pen tip, in response to a suspect detection of exotic beetle Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer.

Photo 2

Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borers are only 2mm long and can be hard to spot but residents are asked to check their trees for signs of other damage including wilting, staining and multiple entrance holes on tree trunks or branches.

Previous Updates

 22 SEPTEMBER 2021

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is calling on residents in Fremantle and surrounding suburbs to help stop any potential spread of the exotic pest Polyphagous shot-hole borer (PSHB).

A Quarantine Area covering 8.6 square kilometers has been put in place for parts of the suburbs of East Fremantle, Fremantle, North Fremantle, Palmyra and Bicton following the confirmation of PSHB in a maple tree in East Fremantle.

PSHB is a tiny borer, exotic to Australia, and is considered both an agricultural and environmental pest due to its wide range of host species including avocado and citrus, native and amenity trees.

Department chief plant biosecurity officer Sonya Broughton said residents within the Quarantine Area could not move any wood or green waste that could act as hosts for the borer from their properties.

“This includes bark, potted plants, firewood, tree prunings, logs, plant cuttings, mulch, timber, wood or wood chips,” Dr Broughton said.

“PSHB does not affect grass, so lawn clippings can be disposed of as normal.

“Any gardening machinery or equipment used for tree lopping, gardening, mulching, wood chipping or handling green waste must not be moved outside of the Quarantine Area unless it has been cleaned of all green waste material and decontaminated.

Department staff are carrying out trapping and inspections of host plants on nearby residential trees, street trees and verges close to where the borer has been detected.

Dr Broughton said it was it was vital everyone worked together to eradicate this destructive pest.

“The borer attacks a wide range of trees, however, the top five of most importance to check are maple, oak, plane, coral tree and avocado,” Dr Broughton said.

“It is important that departmental officers have access to private premises with host trees and plants to conduct inspections.

“Residents in the Quarantine Area will receive a card in their letterbox asking that they contact us to arrange access for this important surveillance work.

“Officers will be following appropriate operating procedures to ensure safe working practices in relation to COVID-19 for both staff and the community.”

A map of the Quarantine Area, full list of tree hosts and more advice to residents is available on the department website agric.wa.gov.au/borer

The Quarantine Area will remain in place initially for six months.

Residents who suspect they have borer damage to trees should make a report to the department through the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or via the department’s MyPestGuide™ Reporter app (Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store), or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

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