Dept. of Agriculture Resources warning residents of invasive pests

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is alerting residents of an invasive pest that feeds on the leaves of boxwood shrubs.

These invasive pests were brought into nurseries from Canadian boxwood plants that were potentially infested with box tree moths. Now it is important to note that state and federal inspectors have not found any signs of box tree moths in nurseries in the Commonwealth, but they have been located in Connecticut.

The reason for alerting the public is that inspections of these plants started after some of them were sold.

Natasha Wright of Braman Termite & Pest Elimination said told 22News, “So the moth itself does no damage but it’s going to lay eggs on the undersides of those leaves. There are going to be little clusters of eggs. Those eggs will hatch out to the caterpillar stage. The caterpillars will completely deflate the boxwood plants.”

State officials request that residents inspect their boxwood shrubs for signs of the moth, and report any findings to or by calling 617-626-1779.

When inspecting your boxwood shrubs, look for all of the life stages of this pest: eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and adults. Eggs are typically laid in gelatinous masses on the underside of boxwood leaves, but may also be laid singly. The caterpillars have a yellow stripe that goes down their back, and the moths can have white and brown wings.

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