The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has broadened the regulated zone for the box tree moth, extending it beyond Ontario to include Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The aim of this expansion is to prevent the spread of the box tree moth into areas where it has not yet been established. Consequently, boxwood plants are permitted to be transported freely within and between these provinces; however, any movement outside these regions requires prior approval from the CFIA.

Background behind the regulated zone expansion

The expansion of the regulated area was prompted by the detection of box tree moth in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces during the summer of 2023, with later confirmations of established populations in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

In response, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted a public consultation from January 11 to February 10, 2024, to discuss the proposed enlargement of this regulated zone.

boxwood tree natural

The Box Tree Moth’s Impact

The box tree moth, while not harmful to humans, poses a severe threat to boxwood plants. These ornamental woody plants, not native to North America, are prevalent in nurseries, gardens, and parks across the continent. Infestations are marked by signs such as leaf loss and larval webbing on the plants. Such infestations carry substantial economic and environmental consequences, especially impacting Canada’s multimillion-dollar boxwood industry.

If you encounter the box tree moth outside the designated regulated areas, please report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to assist in preventing further spread.