Box tree moth found in Nova Scotia after spreading from nearby provinces

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has expanded the area where the box tree moth is detected to four additional provinces, including Nova Scotia.

The agency said in a press release that it expanded the regulated area for box tree moth, a “highly destructive” bug that harms boxwood plants,  which are “woody ornamental” and not native to North America. 

The updated area expanded from Ontario to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador after the CFIA found the bugs in 2023. Nova Scotia is home to one of the “established populations” of the moths, according to the release.

“This change is intended to stop the spread of box tree moth to new areas where it is not yet established,” the CFIA said.

The moth is not harmful to humans but can lead to leaf loss and larval webbing on boxwood plants. The plants are in many Canadian nurseries, gardens and parks.

The change now means boxwood plants can move freely between the provinces but cannot be moved outside of the area without authorization by the CFIA. 

The agency is working with local governments to manage and prevent the pest from spreading to more provinces. 

According to the release, Canada has a “multimillion-dollar” boxwood industry. The moths would have “significant” economic and environmental damage to the plants. 

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