LifestyleOutsmart the garden invader: A simple homemade spray against box tree moths

Outsmart the garden invader: A simple homemade spray against box tree moths

The box tree moth is one of the exceptionally invasive pests.
The box tree moth is one of the exceptionally invasive pests.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | KLEJDYSZ TOMASZ

11:52 AM EDT, May 11, 2024

The box tree moth, a considerable nuisance, demands immediate attention upon appearance in our garden. A simple, cost-effective homemade spray can efficiently combat this pest, requiring just two ingredients.

Originating from Asia, the box tree moth found its way to Europe and rapidly expanded across the continent, including Poland. This highly invasive butterfly species poses a significant threat to gardens, necessitating prompt action to prevent extensive damage to hedges.

Identifying the box tree moth

The box tree moth, which gives the butterfly its name, predominantly targets the leaves of boxwood, among other plants. It also frequents holly and euonymus plants.

Young larvae feed on the tender upper parts of leaves, while mature larvae can consume entire leaves, causing the plants to dry out. Signs of their presence include sticky webs between branches and leaves, along with greenish fecal pellets within these webs.

While small larvae may be hard to spot, larger ones turn green and become more visible. At night, adult moths are drawn to light, making evenings an ideal time to inspect hedges with a flashlight.

Removing the box tree moth can be as simple as using a strong water jet to dislodge larvae, caterpillars, and adults from the leaves. Alternatively, an effective homemade spray can be made by adding approximately 3.4 fluid ounces of spirit or apple cider vinegar and four tablespoons of oil (e.g., sunflower oil) to a quart of water.

Upon spraying the foliage and branches, the oil in the mixture ensures the solution adheres to the leaves longer, deterring the moths from returning. After treatment, collecting and disposing of dislodged insects from the garden is crucial.

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