Home News ODA Imposes Quarantine in Southwest Ohio to Combat Invasive Box Tree Moth

ODA Imposes Quarantine in Southwest Ohio to Combat Invasive Box Tree Moth


The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has taken decisive action in response to the threat posed by an invasive insect known as the box tree moth. Effective April 11, 2024, a quarantine will be enforced in six counties in southwest Ohio, including Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Greene, Montgomery, and Warren.

The quarantine aims to contain the spread of the box tree moth, an invasive pest originating from East Asia. This insect was first confirmed in Ohio in June 2023 near the border of Hamilton and Clermont counties and has since been detected in additional areas within the state.

Box tree moths pose a significant threat to boxwood shrubs, which are vital components of Ohio’s nursery stock economy and horticulture industry. As such, regulations will be implemented to restrict the movement of boxwood shrubs out of the quarantined counties.

To facilitate compliance with the quarantine measures, ODA is urging landscapers and residents in the affected counties to familiarize themselves with the quarantine boundaries and refrain from transporting boxwood plants beyond the designated area.

Plant health inspectors from ODA, along with staff from the United States Department of Agriculture, will conduct inspections and deploy traps to monitor box tree moth populations. It is important to note that box tree moths do not pose a threat to Ohio’s native plants.

Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any signs of box tree moth infestation. Common indicators of infestation include chewed or missing leaves, yellowing foliage, white webbing, and green-black excrement on or around boxwood shrubs.

The box tree moth itself can be identified by its distinctive appearance, with green and yellow caterpillars sporting white, yellow, and black stripes and spots. Adult moths are nocturnal and characterized by white wings with a brown border.

For landscape professionals, nurseries, and others in the green industry, ODA’s Plant Pest Control Section is available to address any inquiries regarding the new regulations. They can be reached at 614-728-6400.

To report sightings of the box tree moth or suspected infestations, residents are encouraged to contact ODA’s Division of Plant Health promptly.

The implementation of this quarantine underscores ODA’s commitment to safeguarding Ohio’s agricultural and natural resources from the threat of invasive species.