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Every box shrub or tree in the area has been attacked by these horrible pests. Really tragic to see so many gardens full of what look like rows of dead shrubs. I have been advised that some should recover. We have never seen the moth before and wonder if the infestation has been due to the unusually humid summer we have had. Is it everywhere or just the southern part of France?
 

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Until a week ago we imagined that the moth, whose caterpillars strip the undersides of box leaves, were safely on the other side of the Rhone in the Drome.

Madame visited a friend's property here in south Ardèche and was stunned to see the damage inflicted and also the huge quantity of moths attracted by light (up to 22cm deep!) found on the surface of pools in the morning. In the space of 10 days the trees look dead.

Box trees are present along shady river valleys and on dry rocky hillsides. There are entire hillsides where the usual green has turned to pale grey.

Will they recover? Wait and see. The caterpillars also feed on green oak leaves (Quercus ilex) when there's no more box to eat.

We sometimes imagine a dismal future where oaks, chestnuts, ash and other emblematic trees are replaced by invaders such as the foul-smelling ailanthus.

I was just reading about the xylella bacteria also called "olive tree ebola" to cheer me up.


map of Pyrale du Buis infestation 2014 & 2015

2016-2017: https://pyrale-du-buis.com/carte-infestation-en-france.htm
 

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Until a week ago we imagined that the moth, whose caterpillars strip the undersides of box leaves, were safely on the other side of the Rhone in the Drome.

Madame visited a friend's property here in south Ardèche and was stunned to see the damage inflicted and also the huge quantity of moths attracted by light (up to 22cm deep!) found on the surface of pools in the morning. In the space of 10 days the trees look dead.

Box trees are present along shady river valleys and on dry rocky hillsides. There are entire hillsides where the usual green has turned to pale grey.

Will they recover? Wait and see. The caterpillars also feed on green oak leaves (Quercus ilex) when there's no more box to eat.

We sometimes imagine a dismal future where oaks, chestnuts, ash and other emblematic trees are replaced by invaders such as the foul-smelling ailanthus.

I was just reading about the xylella bacteria also called "olive tree ebola" to cheer me up.
Interesting about the oak. There is also a problem here with young oaks suddenly keeling over after they have lost all their leaves. Might be the moth, will mention it to the Marie. I had two big box pyramids eaten in the Spring and sprayed with the chemical, fed and watered them. They came back, but the moth returned. Have a lot of lollypops and snow trees but thank goodness most are privet not box. Everyone here has box hedges and topiary but not many olive trees. The winter of 2009-10 killed them all.
 

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Apparently the "natural" cure for the box moth is spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis.
This is also used by the ONF to combat processionary caterpillars in pine forests.
 

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'you can take the boy out of Sarf London, but you can't take Sarf London outta the boy'
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Apparently the "natural" cure for the box moth is spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis.
This is also used by the ONF to combat processionary caterpillars in pine forests.
A quick scan of 'wiki' reveals that the box tree moth is native to Asia where it's natural predator is the asian wasp.........

Not sure which is the lesser of two evils.
 

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I was able to save my two box trees by spraying them, but what hell that was!!!
They were everywhere! I couldn't even wash them off my windshield. I'm in Ardèche, and where we live is covered in box... all dead now. Looks terrible. Just when we have 14 family members coming to visit from the US, for the first time. Too bad.

But the last two days, it seems to be over. Just like that, no more moths!
 
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