There is another invasive species close to Indiana that landscaping and nursery professionals should look for. Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is native to East Asia, and was first detected in 2021 in New York. Detections in Michigan in 2022 have resulted in a quarantine zone for boxwoods (Buxus spp.) in the state. Two counties, Lenawee and Washtenaw, are affected by this quarantine, as well as portions of Monroe and Jackson counties. This pest hasn’t been detected in Indiana yet, but the quarantined area is close to Indiana and Ohio. Anyone who works with boxwoods or has any of these plants on their property will want to keep a lookout for this invasive insect.
What to look for
The adults have two color forms, white and brown. The white form has white wings with a brown border and a white body, while the brown form has solid brown wings and body. Both forms have a characteristic white mark in the middle of each forewing.
The larval stage of C. perspectalis causes extensive feeding damage to boxwoods. They will skeletonize leaves and feed on the bark, which rapidly kills the plant. The larvae are bright yellow-green with two rows of dorsal black spots. Mature larvae have black and dark green stripes as well. They have black heads with a white “Y” shape in the middle. They will also use silk to join leaves together for pupation, so the presence silk webbing is a sign of this pest.
Check your boxwoods often for feeding damage and the presence of box tree moth. You can report suspected findings at https://www.eddmaps.org/indiana/.