The box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is native to eastern Asia including Japan, China, the Russian Far East, Korea, and India. In the fall of 2018, the box tree moth was discovered in Toronto, Canada. Earlier this year, infested plants were shipped from Canada into the U.S. As of May 2021, has been detected in Connecticut, Michigan, and South Carolina although it is uncertain if the moth has become established.
Primary hosts are boxwood species (Buxus spp.) although potential hosts could be euonymus (Euonymus spp.) and hollies (Ilex spp.).
On May 26, 2021, APHIS issued a Federal Order to halt the importation of host plants from Canada, including boxwood (Buxus species), Euonymus (Euonymus species), and holly (Ilex species). In addition, APHIS is coordinating closely with the affected States to:
- Find and destroy the imported plants in the receiving facilities
- Trace imported plants that were sold to determine additional locations of potentially infected boxwood
- Provide box tree moth traps and lures for surveys in the receiving facilities and other locations that received potentially infected boxwood
- Prepare outreach materials for State agriculture departments, industry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists stationed along the Canadian border, and the public.
Box tree moth caterpillars feed exclusively on boxwoods. The young caterpillars feed on the undersides of leaves, which give them a "peeled" appearance from the top. Older caterpillars consume the entire leaf except for the midrib. In addition to feeding damage, caterpillars web together leaves and construct silken retreats. Extensive feeding kills individual plants and entire plantings.
Please contact the Plant Protection Section (404-586-1140) if you suspect a box tree moth infestation.