Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is a new pest that could be introduced to Indiana through the nursery industry. It was recently found in nursery stock in Canada that could have found its way into several locations in the United States. To date, it has not been found in Indiana.
This native of temperate and subtropical regions of Asia feeds primarily on boxwood (Buxus) species. If there are no boxwoods available, it may feed on burning bush (Euonymus alatus), Japanese spindletree (E. japonicus), or purple holly (Ilex chinensis).
This pest is a good flier and can spread long distances on its own. In Europe where it has been introduced, box tree moth is estimated to have spread 3-6 miles per year.
What to look for:
- Adults are difficult to distinguish from native moths. They are typically white with an irregular brown border though some adults have brown wings with a small white streak on each forewing. Wingspan is 1.6 to 1.8 inches.
- Larva are approximately 1.6 inches long and have thin white and thick black stripes and black dots outlined in white along the entire length of the body.
- Larva spin webs to created protected areas for feeding, can completely defoliate plants, and will even feed on the bark. Signs of feeding include green-black frass and lots of webbing.
- Females lay eggs on the underside of leaves.