Tea Shot-Hole Borer
Tea Shot-Hole Borer, Shot-Hole Borer of Tea, Shot-Hole Borer Beetle
A Shot-Hole Borer Beetle are major pests which infest a wide range of plants. Shot-Hole Borer attack plants by tunnelling the branches and stems of plants. Shot-Hole Borer Beetles have more recently been observed inbreeding with other closely related species of beetle. If thuis continues, it could dramatically quicken the invasive spread of beetles across different parts of the world. Evidence has shown that Shot-Hole Borers are capable of surviving on many species of tree, providing there is sufficient water content. Shot-Hole Borers can make infestations worse by introducing a symbiotic fungus to the site of infection, which stays stored in their mouths. The fungus weakens the plant making it easier for beetles to bore into branches.
Major pests of tea plants and other fruits and vegetables.
Adults: A small insect, the females reach 2.5 mm when mature. The males only grow to around half of this length. They are black-brown and oblong. There are multiple rows of faint dots down the wingcases. If you get close enough, you may see fine, erect rows of hairs on the wingcases (elytra). Larvae: The larvae look very similar to chafer grubs. They have the characteristic 'C' shaped body, orange heads, with no legs. Fully grown larvae measure 3mm.
Beetles bore stems. Tiny, black beetles might be seen crawling on the surfaces of branches. Stem die back may be evident in plants. Stems can begin to become weak and rot. The plants growth may become stunted. Plant death is possible.
Africa, Australia, parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands
If buying a tree from a commercial garden centre, it's advised to keep it separated from other plants before planting it to ensure it's not infested. If you think that you have a tree-borer infestation, it might be worth removing the tree and disposing of it sensibly. These pests are highly invasive and spread quickly.
Unfortunately, there's currently no effective form of chemical control as of yet. Be vigilant and inspect trees regularly. It's thought deltamethrin, quinalphos and cypermethrin could be an effective pesticide if the plant is still small enough to treat. Be sure to follow instructions carefully, making sure not to spray plants that are in flower.