Overview

Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is an invasive pest native to East Asia. After being introduced to Europe in 2007, it quickly spread across the continent. It was first detected in North America in 2018 in Ontario, Canada and later confirmed in Niagara County, New York in July 2021. It is believed that the moths flew or were blown into the area.

Caterpillars of this pest feed primarily on boxwoods (Buxus spp.) and will defoliate host plants, causing serious plant decline and death when infestations are heavy. Plant symptoms can include green-black frass and unsightly webbing/silk threads on the host plant. Box tree moth (BTM) larvae have also been observed moving onto bark feeding after the host plants’ leaves are gone, causing girdling and plant death.

Learn more about BTM from the Department's partner organizations:

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

New York State Integrated Pest Management

Agricultural Impact

BTM feeds on boxwoods, which are an important part of the United States nursery industry, with annual wholesale and retail sales estimated at a value of $140 million. They are typically known for being low maintenance, deer resistant hedges, and are a favorite shrub for topiary. After destroying boxwoods, its primary host, BTM will also feed on Euonymus (Euonymus spp.) and holly (Ilex spp.). Although these species are not currently being regulated domestically, movement into the United States is being regulated federally by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Our Work

The Department started surveying high risk areas in Niagara County for BTM after the initial findings in 2021 and have also found BTM larvae in a residential landscape in Youngstown, New York. Findings were confirmed by Cornell University and the USDA National Identification Services. Since the initial detection, the Department and APHIS have continued to survey for BTM with finds in Erie, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties. We request that residents and the horticulture industry also look for, take pictures of, and report any signs of infestation to agriculture.ny.gov/reportBTM.

Quarantine

The Department and USDA APHIS use quarantines to prevent the spread of invasive species into new areas. The Department established an intrastate quarantine to restrict the movement of boxwoods within the state. Regulated articles include the whole plant, all plant parts, pieces, cuttings, clippings, debris, and any portion of the plant, alive or dead. This quarantine also requires the prenotification of all boxwood plants shipped from quarantine areas both within New York as well as from quarantined areas outside of New York.

Boxwood Prenotification Tool

On March 23, 2022, a Federal Order, which parallels the Department's intrastate quarantine, was also issued prohibiting the movement of regulated articles of boxwood from infested counties to other parts of the United States.

As of May 26, 2021, imported shipments containing any regulated article of boxwood, Euonymus, and holly from Canada to the United States are prohibited.

Take Action

We ask the public to allow State and federal agricultural officials to visit your property for inspections if you have boxwoods so that they can place traps on or near your property.

If you live outside Niagara, Erie, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties and find any signs of infestation, please take a picture and report it online at agriculture.ny.gov/reportBTM.

If you live inside Niagara, Erie, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties, you don’t need to report your findings. We encourage you to keep checking your boxwoods regularly for this pest. If you find a BTM infestation within Niagara County, remove infected branches by pruning them with a thinning cut. Then, dispose of material by double-bagging it in plastic bags and putting it out with your household trash. Dead, diseased, or damaged plant parts can be pruned out at any time of the year.