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The Killer Moth – Le papillon tueur

Jean Michel notice yesterday that our boxwood hedge was looking miserable then today, he took a closer look at the three boxwood bushes in the front garden and discovered a cute little caterpillar. It turns out that the Box Tree Moth, a native to easter Asia, arrived in France with a bang in 2007 from Germany and has been devastating boxwood trees ever since. Cydalima perspectalis Untreated, it can completely destroy a tree in just two weeks. Boxwood is an important component of the formal gardens so popular in the grounds of châteaux in the Loire Valley. A parasitod called Bacillus Thuringiensis is being used to combat the moth. It acts on small larvae leading to muscular paralysis. We immediately went out and bought some. Jean Michel can be seen in the photo below spraying it on our trees. The boxwood on the left was bought this winter and no doubt treated in the nursery. If you can’t see the caterpillar in the first photo, click to enlarge.
Jean Michel a remarqué hier que notre haie de buis brunissait. Aujourd’hui il a regardé de plus près les trois buis dans le jardin devant la maison. Il a vu une jolie petite chenille. Il se trouve que la pyrale du buis vient de l’Asie de l’est. Elle est arrivée en France en 2007 en passant par l’Allemagne. Le buis est un composant important des jardins à la française si répandus dans les parcs des châteaux de la vallée de la Loire. Un parasitode appelé Bacillus Thuringiensis est désormais utilisé pour combattre le papillon. Il agit sur les petites larves en les paralysant. Nous sommes allés tout de suite en acheter. On voit Jean Michel dans la photo ci-dessous qui asperge notre buis .Le buis de gauche a été acheté cet hiver et a dû être traité. Si vous ne voyez pas la chenille dans la première photo, cliquez pour l’agrandir.

8 replies on “The Killer Moth – Le papillon tueur”

The bigger picture is more important – ours are expendable really but not in the gardens of the châteaux.

Bummer! I don’t recall hearing of this moth, so thanks for introducing me to it. I wonder if that’s why some of Villandry’s box is looking patchy? I thought it must be the fungus that affects box, but they seemed to have it so well contained I was surprised. I bet it’s in fact this caterpillar, which would be easier to control.
Btw, be super careful using Bt. It’s not specific and will kill any soft bodied invertebrate. It’s used a lot on processionary caterpillars and sprayed from the air over commercial plantations, but there is a fair outcry against that sort of practice. It can now be introduced to GM crops too (not in France, since they are banned) so any muncher gets it. Just be aware that it will kill the caterpillars of all the lovely butterflies and moths that do no harm and are already declining alarmingly.

Susan, we totally recherched it before we bought the product. The one we chose is supposed to be specific to this type of caterpillar (not the same as the corn one apparently). Otherwise, there is no way you can save the boxwood. Jean Michel tried to spray it specifically on the boxwood.

Malheureusement le purin d’orties ne marche pas sur cette bestiole. On a fait des recherches et ce produit biologique semble faire le moins de dégâts.

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