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Box tree moth/caterpillar outbreak uk

Just a heads up to anyone that deals with box and like me thought Box tree caterpillar was confined to london and the south east. 

It appears this years weather has provided perfect breeding. 

Here is a current map of outbreaks recorded -- a massive increase this year and considering many wont list their outbreak you can assume that pretty much most of the UK now has populations in their area. 

https://www.ebts.org/bmctracker/

Ive read the life cycle of the Moth is 6-8 weeks and that we are now enetring the 3rd life cycle of this year -- with a mild autumn possibly ahead, we could see the current caterpillars turn into moths and have a final breeding. 

PDF from EBTS uk https://www.ebts.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-Box-Moth-Flyer-v4.pdf

Really important to take some time inspecting any box you deal with -- early signs are very easy to miss - but much easier to deal with if you catch them now and get them done before another cycle is complete and winter comes. 

Picture showing early signs -- look for bite marks or the light coloured wavy remains of a leaf stem. Caterpillar will probably be inside - possibly within a webbing -- as this is spider time of year theres a lot of webbing around which may not be caterpillar 

 

 

 

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Replies

  • PRO Supplier

    Good call Dan, we've had lots of calls recently in a short space of time and not just the usual areas in/ around London........norfolk & Glocs....constant vigilance neededas they can do a fair bit of damage in a short time...think about Dipel as a bacterial treatment for caterpillars.

    https://www.progreen.co.uk/dipel-df-500-g

    DiPel DF 500 g | Insecticide | Caterpillars | Brown Tail Moth - ProGreen
    Biological insecticide to control caterpillars in vegetables, soft fruit ornamental s & amenity vegetation - Also controls Brown Tail Moth - Fast UK…
  • PRO

    I had an infestation two years ago and my box balls and heding was wiped out. One needs to act fast as it only takes a short while for a box bush to be stripped.

     

    https://landscapejuicenetwork.com/forum/topics/box-tree-caterpillar...

    Box Tree Caterpillar damage
    Has anyone had an experience with Box Tree Caterpillar infestation? My box balls/box hedge is being decimated by caterpillars as I type.  I have no i…
    • PRO

      How are your box now Phil ? 

      Did you try moth pheromone traps as well ? 

      France seem to have been very badly hit last two years, i see Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is finally removing box from several beds after blight and caterpillar have wiped out 70% of its historic box. 

      Box Tree Caterpillar damage
      Has anyone had an experience with Box Tree Caterpillar infestation? My box balls/box hedge is being decimated by caterpillars as I type.  I have no i…
      • PRO

        I've dug all the box out Dan:(

        I treated them with a wash and it killed all the catepillars but too much damage had been done.

        I've seen some very mature box that have been wioped out. It's very sad

        Box Tree Caterpillar damage
        Has anyone had an experience with Box Tree Caterpillar infestation? My box balls/box hedge is being decimated by caterpillars as I type.  I have no i…
        • PRO

          Looks like at  Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte they arent replanting the box - they are waiting 5 years to see what developments in box plant breeding and treatments bring. 

          Have we now reached the point in Europe that its immoral for designers to continue specifying Box planting ?  Without at least first clarifying to the client the realistic, eternal treatments that will be needed. 

          Box Tree Caterpillar damage
          Has anyone had an experience with Box Tree Caterpillar infestation? My box balls/box hedge is being decimated by caterpillars as I type.  I have no i…
          • PRO

            Examining some box today in two seperate gardens in same area North Yorks the leaves are pale and just dropped off in my hand ( they look like the one in the main photo ) but no sign of any caterpillars or bite marks one customer maintains they are recovering from the drought but i am not convinced in both cases the box are in stone garden containers but i am new to these gardens so i dont know the history of the box . 

            Compared to a regular garden where i have maintained the box for Three years West Yorks the shrubs were healthy last week , these are mature and in the soil but the attacks seem to be rapid only spotted after the damage is done .

             

             

            Box Tree Caterpillar damage
            Has anyone had an experience with Box Tree Caterpillar infestation? My box balls/box hedge is being decimated by caterpillars as I type.  I have no i…
  • PRO

    Total disaster here in Belgium. I have gardens on the books with box worth thousands of Euros. I spray every two to three weeks with fungicides and pesticides, where clients hav'nt given up. You must check every week and react immediately. Disinfect all tools, remove all dead leaves and steady feeding via liquid seaweed amongst other things with regard to blight.

    With the weather we have had and are still having , we have not trimmed anything yet and some plantations are in a sorry state.. Normally we cut in August when the plants new growth has hardened off but Advice now is to wait until temperatures of around 18 ° normalize. Very dry spring and a scorching hot summer have not helped. It's sad as buxus is/was one of the cornerstones of plant design here.A considerable amount of my colleagues also refuse to spray against it. They will supply the chemicals to the client but won't apply them, citing health concerns( bizzare). I must admit that I have been lucky with my gardens. The moth is a constant problem but the blight hasn't ran amok , like I have seen elsewhere.its just pure luck I guess. My advice to clients that have not invested considerable sums of money is to get rid of it for now. 

    The yew is flying though..... for now..

    • PRO

      A good point about leaving the clipping until the growth and conditions are right , I see alot of box clipped by default to keep it manicured and the stress shows , fortunately i am allowed to use my disgression at my clients garden and i feel this helps maintain its health but like you say it could be just down to luck .  Great photo you have added .

      • PRO

        Great picture Paul. interesting regarding leaving Box cutting till 18degrees - makes a lot of sense. 

        Thats a lot of spraying you are doing - every 2-3 weeks all of the growing season?

        • PRO

          Pretty much from the march onwards. I change products for the blight depending on the season. I also mix in buxus food to the tank, to give the weed n feed effect,. Watering from below via drip hose irrigation..granular feed etc etc. I try my best to prune on a cloudy day to lessen scorching, but that's just a joke now here. Have not seen a frigging cloud in months!!!joke.

          All the best

          Paul

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