Baton Rouge, La. (July 15, 2021) – Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Mike Strain, D.V.M., said an invasive pest native to sub-tropical regions in Asia, the Box Tree Moth (BTM), was confirmed in the United States.
The BTM primarily feeds on boxwoods (Buxus spp.) as well as burning bush (Euonymus alatus) and purple holly (Ilex chinesis). The larvae can defoliate adult boxwoods and will feed on the bark once the leaves are gone, which can cause the branches or the entire plant to die.
Between August of 2020 and April of 2021, a nursery in Canada reportedly shipped boxwood plants that may have been infested with BTM to seven states within the United States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. The detection of the BTM has been confirmed in Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina.
“Our concern is plant material being shipped from one of the states that received boxwood plants directly from the infested nursery in Canada,” said Strain. “So far, our department has received one notification of a single boxwood plant being shipped from a nursery in South Carolina to a residence in north Louisiana.”
The plant has been located and destroyed by LDAF personnel. No BTM was observed on the plant or surrounding plants.
On May 26, 2021, a federal order was issued prohibiting the importation of host plants including, Buxus spp., Euonymus spp., and Ilex spp. from Canada.