Box tree moth prompts Ohio quarantine


April 12, 2024

Photo: Tomasz Klejdysz/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Photo: Tomasz Klejdysz/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is issuing a quarantine for six counties in southwest Ohio to prevent the spread of the box tree moth, an invasive insect.

The moth has also been confirmed in New York and Michigan, and as a species is described as “highly mobile and good fliers.”

Beginning April 11, 2024, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties will have regulations in place restricting the movement of boxwood shrubs out of the area. According to the release, ODA is encouraging landscapers and residents in these counties to check the quarantine boundaries and not transport the plants outside of the quarantined area.

Although it’s a landscape pest, it’s one that pest management professionals (PMPs) might encounter often this summer.

A map of the quarantined zone can be found here.

Box tree moths were detected in Ohio in June 2023, near the border of Hamilton and Clermont counties and they have been confirmed in the quarantined counties listed above. Box tree moths are an invasive pest from East Asia that poses a threat to boxwood plantings and the horticulture industry. Boxwood is an important ornamental shrub that is a valuable part of Ohio’s nursery stock economy. Federal and state officials are asking industry and the public to report suspected box tree moth sightings through ODA’s reporting tool.

ODA plant health inspectors and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff will be conducting inspections and placing traps to monitor populations. Box tree moths are not a threat to Ohio’s native plants.

PMPs and their customers can look for and report any potential infestation by following these steps:

  • Familiarize yourself with the insect’s appearance and evidence of damage on boxwood shrubs.
  • Check any boxwood plants you have for signs of box tree moth life stages.
  • If you find any evidence of infestation, take a picture, and report it.

Evidence of damage include chewed, cut or missing leaves, yellowing or brown leaves, white webbing, and green-black excrement on or around the plant.

Box tree moth caterpillars are green and yellow with white, yellow, and black stripes and black spots. Adult box tree moths are nocturnal and have white, slightly iridescent wings, with an irregular thick brown border.

Report any box tree moth sightings to ODA’s Division of Plant Health.

New York sightings can be reported as described online at

Michigan sightings can be reported as described online at


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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