Box Tree Moth, History, Identification, and Regulatory Response
Partners: USDA, Clemson Regulatory Plant Sciences, North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA)
Image: Szabolcs Sáfián, University of West Hungary, Bugwood.org
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of box tree moth in the continental United States, and has implemented an emergency response to find and eradicate this pest. This invasive pest can significantly damage and potentially kill boxwood (Buxus species) 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 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.
South Carolina Response:
From the article: https://hgic.clemson.edu/be-on-the-lookout-for-the-box-tree-moth/
"As of June 1, 2021, the South Carolina detection is being treated as a regulatory incident, and this pest is not thought to have escaped into the landscape. Clemson’s Department of Plant Industry is investigating plant shipments into and out of the South Carolina nursery to determine if infested material may have been inadvertently sold to homeowners and will be monitoring in and around the nursery to ensure this moth has not escaped."
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