MSU Extension program works to track invasive moths

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The box tree moth is an invasive species that has destroyed approximate 70% of boxwood shrubs in Europe. (Courtesy: Arlo Laber via Michigan State University Extension)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University Extension is starting a program to detect an invasive moth species.

MSU Extension is partnering with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for the program, it said in a Thursday release. The program will work to detect the box tree moth, or Cydalima perspectalis, in Michigan.

The caterpillar of the moth only eats boxwood shrubs and can kill the plant. It has destroyed around 70% of boxwood shrubs in Europe. It was found in the United States this past spring, including three spots in Michigan, APHIS said.

APHIS was able to remove the moths in those three spots. MSU Extension has created the early detection program to track if the moth has been introduced anywhere else in Michigan.

Michigan homeowners with boxwoods that were planted in 2020 or 2021 can help by setting up a pheromone traps on their property, which will detect male box moths that are already in the area.

Those interested in hanging up a trap can fill out a survey online. For more information about the box tree moth and other invasive species, go to canr.msu.edu/invasive_species/.

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