The boxwood moth overwinters as an egg in a protective web inside the boxwood. With the rising spring temperatures, the larvae hatch and start eating right away. The first moths appear around May and prefer to lay their eggs on box trees that have not yet been infested. You can protect these in turn by draping close-meshed nets over them - laying eggs and thus the next generation is made impossible for the butterfly. However, since around two to three generations develop each year, the network would have to stay in place continuously between the beginning of March and the end of September. Of course, that looks less appealing.
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Pressure washer / vacuum cleaner
During the “moth season” between March and September, it is advisable to regularly check existing boxwood for caterpillars and eggs. You should carefully pull the bushes and hedges apart and take a look inside, as the animals prefer to stay in the dark. In the event of a caterpillar infestation, cover the ground around the affected boxwood with a film or tarpaulin and use the pressure washer. (€ 85.90 at Amazon *) With this you blow or rinse the pests out of the plant and then only need to pick up the pad with them and dispose of it. Alternatively, mechanical removal works with a leaf blower or a vacuum cleaner. For the latter, you would need a joint attachment with which you can vacuum the animals in a targeted manner. But be careful:The caterpillars are amazingly nimble as soon as they perceive vibrations. In addition, this measure has to be repeated frequently, as it can always lead to renewed infestation.
Remove caterpillars with a high-pressure cleaner - this is how it works:
- Cover the floor with foil, fleece or a tarpaulin
- weight them down with stones or the like
- Treat plants with a pressure washer (or other suitable device)
- make sure that the caterpillars all land on the surface (and not in the grass or similar)
- Collect animals frequently and after just a few meters
- Otherwise these can escape and infest the box trees again
It has been known since 2016 that algae lime - a substance that is actually used for fertilization and soil improvement - is an excellent help against the box tree moth. In order to prevent or contain an infestation, however, you must dust all box trees with algae lime. This is not only visually unattractive, but also creates other problems:
- The leaves dusted with the lime are no longer fully capable of photosynthesis.
- Algae lime blocks the stomata so that shoot growth is inhibited.
- Frequent use imbalances the pH value of the soil.
- As a result, the absorption of nutrients is made more difficult.
- The effects on local insect and bird life have not yet been adequately researched.
Given these findings, the use of algae lime should be carefully considered. However, if the infestation pressure is very high and you cannot otherwise master the plague, the remedy is a good remedy. It also ensures that no new caterpillars hatch from eggs that have already been laid.
Opaque garbage bag
This method only works on hot and sunny days:
- In the morning, put a large, opaque plastic bag over an infected book.
- Garbage bags are ideal for this.
- The cover should remain on the shrub until evening.
- Heat accumulates under the garbage bag, which causes the moth caterpillars to die off.
- The Buchs, on the other hand, usually survives the treatment without consequences.
- Collect the caterpillars in the evening and dispose of them.
In order to have lasting success with the treatment, you should repeat it at regular intervals. The eggs do not die due to the heat, so new caterpillars can be found on the plant after a few days to weeks. However, over time you will reduce the infestation pressure, as fewer caterpillars mean fewer egg-laying moths.
From March, hang yellow boards or pheromone traps in the trees and bushes around beech plantations. Although these do not reduce the butterfly population, they clearly show you the presence of the pests. If the first moths have been caught, you can take prompt action.