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Pest Alert: Box Tree Moth Confirmed for the First Time in Massachusetts

Box tree moth caterpillar, webbing, and frass pellets. Seen in Barnstable County, MA in 2023. Photo: Russ Norton, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
September 1, 2023

The box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is a non-native insect that originated in the temperate and subtropical regions of Asia. It was found to be invasive in Europe in 2007 and has since spread to western Asia, northern Africa, and Canada (2018). In the United States, it has been detected previously in New York (2021), Michigan (2022), and Ohio (2023).

The box tree moth has been detected for the first time in Massachusetts in communities on Cape Cod (Barnstable County) as of 2023. Thus far, the established populations of box tree moth in MA are in landscape plantings that are two or more years of age. It is currently unclear how widespread box tree moth is on Cape Cod, or how the infestation was introduced. The MA Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are currently working to delimit the infestation found on the Cape.

Anyone in Massachusetts (outside of Barnstable County) who suspects they have seen this insect or its damage to boxwood should report it immediately at

More images and information about box tree moth in Massachusetts can be found in this UMass Extension fact sheet and from MDAR at

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