Cydalima perspectalis: APHIS Confirms Box Tree Moth and Takes Action to Contain and Eradicate the Pest
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of the box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis, in nurseries in four states: one nursery in Connecticut, one in Ohio, one in South Carolina, and three in Michigan. APHIS is taking action alongside state partners and industry to contain and eradicate the invasive pest, which was imported on nursery plants shipped from Ontario, Canada.
The box tree moth can significantly damage and potentially kill boxwood plants if left unchecked. Between August 2020 and April 2021, a nursery in St. Catharines, Ontario, shipped boxwood (Buxus species) that may have been infested with box tree moth to 25 retail facilities in six states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina—and a distribution center in Tennessee. APHIS is working with state plant regulatory officials to determine whether other facilities may be impacted.
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
These immediate measures are focused on protecting the economic viability of the thriving U.S. boxwood industry as well as nurseries and other establishments that sell these plants wholesale and direct to consumers.
The box tree moth is native to East Asia and has become a serious invasive pest in Europe, where it continues to spread. In 2018, it was found in the Toronto area of Canada. The caterpillars feed mostly on boxwood, and heavy infestations can defoliate host plants. Once the leaves are gone, larvae consume the bark, leading to girdling and plant death.
The following website contains additional information on the box tree moth:
Under IPPC standards, Cydalyma perspectalis is a pest that is present: not widely distributed and under official control to contain and eradicate it from the United States.