It has recently been discovered the devastating effect it has on the boxwood plantthe boxwood caterpillar, whose origin is Asian and arrived in Europe in 2006, since then it has been expanding through different European countries and it is estimated that it arrived in Spain in 2014.
It follows that its spread is due to commercial exchange of infested plants and is that this is considered a plague that has devastating effects in this plant and that is known for a short time.
New plague for Boxwood
The moth or butterfly, whose scientific name is Cydalima Perspectalisdeposits its larvae on the boxwood plant and these effectively devour its leaves, also causing irreparable damage to its bark to the point of causing the death of it and is that it is so effective and harmful, that it has devastated entire forest areas.
In its chrysalis stage, they measure only between 1,5 and 2 cm., they are greenish in principle and then the tone changes to brown. They are protected by means of a sufficiently thick silk fabric that they form on the same plant.
At its caterpillar stagewhen they are young they go through a hibernation process through which they protect between two sheets and silk. As adults they can measure up to 5 cms., Their head is distinguished because it is totally black, greenish yellow body, with white lines on the sides of the body accompanied by black spots.
Their wings measure up to 4 cm. and each spawn contains between 5 and 10 eggs that are laid on top of the leaf and covered with a transparent protective substance. It produces between and four generations a year, this together with its ferocious appetite explain its ability to devastate large areas of plants.
In Spain, its detrimental effect on boxwood is known, however, it may migrate to other similar plants such as Buxus Microphylla, Buxus Colchica, Buxus Balearica or other types of plants.
Effects on boxwood
The first generation of the moth is usually less aggressive and the damage is practically reduced to the massive consumption of the leaves of the plant; From then on, the next generations will attack the bark very aggressively, causing it to dry out and die.
We talk about how this can happen in a year or less, from there the need to treat this pestas soon as it is detected to prevent it from ending the life of the boxwood.
How to fight this plague
In Spain there is no natural predator, in its country of origin it is the Asian wasp or vespa velutina, in the absence of this several ways have been generated to combat its effect in the box.
The bacillus turigiensisto apply it by spraying it on the boxwood and this liquid is totally harmless for birds, mammals and fish, although it does kill the caterpillar when it consumes the leaves, since its composition only affects this pest. They are also used pheromone trapsdesigned to attract male moths and leave them trapped, thus preventing their reproduction.
These measures aim to eradicate the plague and prevent it from destroying large areas where boxwood is cultivated and used ornamentally through its propagation. Of course, eradicating it is much more complex because it means, in the first instance, avoiding the trade of certain plants between countries, something a bit difficult to control.
The observation of the large plantations and the timely monitoring once the pest presence they will make the difference in the effectiveness in the treatment of the pest mainly if it is attacked in its first phase or first generation of moths.
For those who grow it in smaller and more controlled areas, it is highly recommended and effective clean each box better even when they are small and when they are in their hibernation stage, check very well and prune all the affected areas, before the beginning of spring apply a good fertilizer full of nutrients that strengthens the plant and helps it fight moths and if necessary apply some safe chemical treatment.
The important thing is to attack the pest from the beginning.