Bonamanzi Game Reserve (Bonamanzi) together with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) urges visitors to refrain from bringing their own firewood into Zululand Reserves as it might contain a tiny beetle that seriously threatens indigenous trees and forests. The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is about the size of a sesame seed native to Southeast Asia. It has recently started invading South Africa.
The beetles create branching, breeding and feeding galleries in trees lined with a layer of spores of the co-introduced alien species of fungus they carry. This fungus, which they feed on, is left inside the tree’s circulatory system, which blocks nutrients and water from reaching parts of the tree and leads to branch dieback and the tree’s death.
The beetles are spread mainly by the movement of wood from infested trees, most often in the form of firewood. The beetles have spread through this mechanism to numerous locations across the country. No chemical products are registered for treatment against PSHB in South Africa, which makes this a serious threat to biodiversity and food security.
After much consideration of the high risk that this alien beetle and the fungus it carries poses to the biodiversity in our Reserves, and the main means of their spread being through firewood, Bonamanzi and Ezemvelo have decided to implement a ban on visitors bringing firewood into any of their Reserves. Visitors can still purchase firewood from our curio shop that have been safely sourced from PSHB-free areas. For more information on PSHB visit https://www.fabinet.up.ac.za/pshb