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Response Plan endorsed to eradicate polyphagous shot-hole borer

Biosecurity

The Emergency Plant Pest (EPP) polyphagous shot-hole borer (Euwallacea fornicatus; PSHB) was reported in Western Australia in August 2021. PSHB has a symbiotic relationship with a fungus (Fusarium sp.) that it cultivates to feed its larvae. Very little is known about PSHB and its host range.

Photo: Pia Scanlon, DPIRD

On 18 October 2022, E. fornicatus and the associated symbiotic Fusarium sp. were formally classified as Category 1 EPPs. This means that the pest is considered likely to have a major impact on the environment and on amenity flora, a nuisance impact on human lifestyle and relatively little impact on cropping sectors; therefore, the cost share of implementing a Response Plan is 100 per cent government funded.

On 21 October 2022, the National Management Group (NMG) met to consider the response to the PSHB/Fusarium sp. AF-18 complex in Western Australia.

The NMG endorsed a three-year Response Plan to eradicate E. fornicatus/Fusarium sp. AF-18 complex from Western Australia, with an upper limit of expenditure set at $39.99 million.

The Response Plan is being nationally cost-shared under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD).

Euwallacea fornicatus/Fusarium sp. AF-18 complex was formally notified under the EPPRD on 3 September 2021. The NMG recognised the extensive work that Western Australia has undertaken to date on emergency surveillance, tracing, containment, and eradication.

Based on international data, E. fornicatus/Fusarium sp. complex has over 680 known host species which it can potentially damage. These species comprise horticulture production, native and amenity trees. The adult beetles and their larvae can be hard to spot as they spend most of their lives inside a tree. The signs that indicate the borer could be found include multiple entrance holes in the trunk or branches or wilting or dying branches. Further information about PSHB/Fusarium complex is available on the outbreak.gov.au website.

It was recognised that there is still a high degree of uncertainty around PSHB/Fusarium complex and therefore APAL will continue to monitor the response as a signatory to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD).

If you live in Western Australia and think you have a tree showing signs of infestation with PSHB, please contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or report it through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) MyPestGuide Reporter app.

Further reading

Plant Health Australia – Pest categorisation

WA Biosecurity Alert – Polyphagous shot-hole borer (October 2021)

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