Chinese moth against Boxwood

The devastating effect that the boxwood caterpillar has on the boxwood plant, whose origin is Asian and arrived in Europe in 2006, has recently been discovered , since then it has been expanding through different European countries and it is estimated that it arrived in Spain in the 2014.

It follows that its spread is due to the commercial exchange of infested plants and it is considered a pest that has devastating effects on this plant and has been known for a short time.


  • 1 New pest for Boxwood
  • 2 Characteristics of the caterpillar
  • 3 Effects on boxwood
  • 4 How to combat this plague

New pest for Boxwood

New pest for Boxwood

The moth or butterfly, whose scientific name is Cydalima Perspectalis , deposits its larvae in the boxwood plant and these effectively devour its leaves, also causing irreparable damage to its bark until it dies, and it is so effective and harmful that it has devastated entire forest areas.

caterpillar characteristics

In their chrysalis stage, they measure just between 1.5 and 2 cm , they are greenish at first and then the tone changes to brown. They protect themselves by means of a sufficiently thick silk fabric that they form on the same plant.

In their caterpillar stage , when they are young, they go through a hibernation process through which they protect themselves between two leaves and silk . When adults, they can measure up to 5 cm. Their head is distinguished because it is totally black, with a greenish-yellow body, with white lines on the sides of the body accompanied by black spots.

Its 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 four generations a year, this, together with its ferocious appetite, explains its ability to devastate large areas of plants .

In Spain its detrimental effect on boxwood is known, however, it is possible that it migrates 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 its bark very aggressively, causing it to dry out and die.

We say that this can happen in a year or less, hence the need to treat this pest as soon as it is detected to prevent it from ending the life of the boxwood.

How to fight this pest

pest control moth

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 on boxwood.

Bacillus turigiensis is used , to apply it by spraying it on the boxwood and this liquid is completely harmless to birds, mammals and fish, although it does kill the caterpillar when it consumes the leaves, since its composition only affects this pest . Pheromone-based traps are also used , intended to attract male moths and trap them, thus preventing their reproduction.

These measures aim to eradicate the pest and prevent its spread from destroying large areas where boxwood is grown and used ornamentally. Of course, eradicating it is much more complex because it involves, in the first instance, avoiding the trade of certain plants between countries, something that is somewhat difficult to control.

Observation of large plantations and timely monitoring once the presence of the pest is detected will make a difference in the effectiveness of the treatment of the pest, especially if it is attacked in its first phase or first generation of moths.

For those who grow it in smaller and controlled areas, it is highly recommended and effective to clean each one of the boxwoods better even when they are small and when they are in their hibernation stage, check very well and prune all the affected areas, before entering In the spring, apply a good fertilizer full of nutrients that strengthens the plant and helps it fight moths and, if necessary, apply a safe chemical treatment.

The important thing is to attack the plague from the beginning.

Chinese moth against Boxwood

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