THE shot hole borer may be a pest, but it’s still fascinating, says Wits University entomologist Marcus Byrne.
“They are from a group of insects called ambrosia beetles. These beetles carry species of fungus on their bodies, which they cultivate inside the trees they attack. The beetles actually eat the fungus, not the tree. It is the fungus which does most damage to the host tree.
“The beetle is just the gardener, making a suitable place for the fungus to live. Then the beetle cultivates the fungus to eat, for itself and for its larvae. This type of relationship is called symbiosis, where two different organisms depend on each other for a livelihood.” | Sheree Bega