The Box Tree Moth (BTM), an invasive species native to the sub-tropical regions of Asia, has been confirmed present in the United States, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain announced in a press release. At least one plant that
BTM feeds primarily on boxwoods (Buxux app.), burning bush (Euonymus alatus) and purple holly (Ilex chinesis), according to the press release. Its larvae can defoliate adult boxwoods and feed on its bark once leaves are gone, "with can cause the branches or the entire plant to die."
According to LDAF, a nursery in Canada reportedly shipped boxwood plants that might have been infested with BTM to seven states, including South Carolina and Tennessee. Detection has been confirmed in South Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio.
“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.”
Strain said the plant has been located and destroyed by LDAF. No BTM were seen 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.