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Quarantine issued in Southwest Ohio for invasive box tree moth

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The Ohio Department of Agriculture is issuing a quarantine for six counties in southwest Ohio to prevent the spread of an invasive insect – the box tree moth.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is issuing a quarantine for six counties in southwest Ohio to prevent the spread of an invasive insect – the box tree moth.

The box tree moth is native to temperate and sub-tropical regions in Asia. It was first reported in Europe in 2007, after which it spread rapidly across Europe into Western Asia and Northern Africa. Infestations were found in Ontario, Canada in 2018, and was confirmed to be found in a Canadian nursery in the spring of 2021. The pest was later found in New York state and Michigan in 2022. It was first detected in southeast Ohio in June of 2023.

The quarantine began April 11 for six counties in southwest Ohio to prevent the spread of box tree moth.

Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties will have regulations in place restricting the movement of boxwood shrubs out of the area. ODA is encouraging landscapers and residents in these counties to check the quarantine boundaries and not transport the plants outside of the quarantined area.

Box tree moth caterpillars are capable of killing boxwoods by their heavy feeding. Young caterpillars commonly feed on only part of the leaf, either the top or bottom sides. As they age and grow larger the caterpillars may eat the entire leaf, often leaving only the leaf edges. Heavy infestations can result in the entire plant being defoliated, leaving bare branches and no leaves on the ground.

Box tree moth caterpillars are green and yellow with white, yellow and black stripes and black spots. Adult box tree moths are nocturnal and have white, slightly iridescent wings, with an irregular thick brown border.

Landscape professionals, nursery and others in the green industry can contact the Plant Pest Control Section with any questions about the new regulation at 614-728-6400.

LM Staff

LM Staff

Landscape Management's staff brings together collective experience in journalism, research, writing, and editing. Our team stays tapped into the pulse of the industry, covering a wide range topics with a commitment to delivering compelling stories and high-quality content.

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