The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has identified the box tree moth (cydalima perspectalis) in the United States. This is the first detection of this invasive species in the nation.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) was made aware that potentially infested boxwood plants were shipped to several Ohio nurseries and greenhouses from a supplier in Canada between August 2020 and April 2021. The ODA responded to the Ohio facilities that received these plants, immediately stopped the sale of boxwood, and is working with the close cooperation of the facilities to destroy all of the high-risk plants from these shipments.
The box tree moth can significantly damage and potentially kill boxwood plants if left unchecked. The insect is native to East Asia and has become a serious invasive pest in Europe, where it continues to spread. The larval stage of the pest, which are caterpillars, leave behind a silky webbing while feeding. Box tree moth is found mostly infesting boxwood shrubs, but euonymus and holly species can also be hosts.
On May 26, 2021, APHIS issued a federal order to halt the importation of host plants from Canada, including boxwood (Buxus spp.), Euonymus (Euonymus spp.), and holly (Ilex spp.). The ODA will continue trapping and visual inspection for the box tree moth throughout the growing season.
Visit the ODA’s Division of Plant Health website for more information about invasive pests in Ohio.
Submitted by Katie Boyer, Ohio Department of Agriculture.