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Species Page

box tree moth

Cydalima perspectalis
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Buxus (box)
Buxus balearica
Buxus bodinieri
Buxus harlandii
Buxus megistophylla
Buxus microphylla (little-leaf box)
Buxus rugulosa
Buxus sempervirens (common boxwood)
Buxus sinica (chinese box)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - frass visible
Fruit - webbing
Growing point - external feeding
Growing point - frass visible
Growing point - lesions
Growing point - odour
Inflorescence - frass visible
Inflorescence - webbing
Leaves - external feeding
Leaves - frass visible
Leaves - odour
Leaves - webbing
Stems - external feeding
Stems - visible frass
Stems - webbing
Whole plant - external feeding
Whole plant - frass visible
Whole plant - plant dead; dieback
Whole plant - unusual odour


The larvae of C. perspectalis feed on the leaves of box trees but can attack the bark of the trees, causing them to dry out and die (Leuthardt and Baur, 2013). Typical symptoms include feeding damage on the leaf edges, with sometimes only leaf skeletons remaining. Attendant symptoms are webbing of the branches with frass and residues of moulting such as, black head capsules of different sizes. Heavy damage or repeated attacks lead to total defoliation of the trees, the subsequent attack of the bark causing the death of the tree.

Prevention and control

Public Awareness

In order to slow down the dispersal of C. perspectalis, public awareness should be raised by communicating the risk of displacing eggs, larvae and pupae when moving infested box trees. The trade of infested box-trees may still be the most important dissemination pathway. Surveys of garden centres have shown that infested box trees are available for sale without the knowledge of the seller, most probably due to the difficult detection of early larval sages or eggs (Leuthardt et al., 2010).


Due to the high mobility of adults and the wide distribution of its host plant, the eradication of C. perspectalis is a difficult task once it has established itself in an area.


C. perspectalis was featured on the alert list of the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) between 2007 and 2011. The pest has been removed from the list because of its wider distribution and rapid expansion that could not be controlled (EPPO, 2013).

Physical/Mechanical Control

In small trees, manual removal of larvae can be an effective control measure if it is repeated every 2-3 days. 

Biological Control

The only detected parasitoids feeding on C. perspectalis in Europe are polyphagous species (Wan et al., 2014) and predation by birds is low, probably due to the high levels of toxic alkaloids sequestered by the larva (Leuthardt and Baur, 2013). Therefore, neither would be useful biological control agents. Trichogramma, pathogens and entomopathogenic nematodes are effective in the laboratory, but not yet in the field (Göttig and Herz, 2014; Wan et al., 2014). The introduction of specific parasitoids from the area of origin should be envisaged because it represents the only long-term control option in natural habitat. Unfortunately, little is known on the natural enemies of the moth in Asia.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources: