Expansion of the box tree moth regulated area to include Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador

News release

May 13, 2024 - Ottawa, Ontario

Stopping the spread of invasive species such as box tree moth is the most effective way to safeguard forests and native plants, as well as protect Canada's forestry and horticulture-related businesses.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has expanded the regulated area for box tree moth beyond the province of Ontario, adding Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. This change is intended to stop the spread of box tree moth to new areas where it is not yet established. This means that boxwood plants can be moved freely between and within these provinces, but they cannot be moved outside of this regulated area without authorization by the CFIA.

This decision follows interceptions of box tree moth in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces in the summer of 2023, and subsequent confirmation of established populations in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The CFIA held a public consultation from January 11 to February 10, 2024 on the expansion of the regulated area.

Box tree moth is not harmful to human health, but it is highly destructive to boxwood plants. These woody ornamental plants are not native to North America and are widely distributed in nurseries, gardens, and parks. Signs of infestation include leaf loss and larval webbing on the plant. Infestations have significant economic and environmental repercussions, particularly on Canada's multimillion-dollar boxwood industry.

The CFIA will continue to survey and monitor box tree moth spread in Canada and continue to engage with federal, provincial, and municipal partners, along with stakeholders to explore management options for preventing the pest from spreading west of Ontario and to Prince Edward Island.

If you spot box tree moth outside regulated areas, report it to the CFIA to help stop the spread.

Quick facts

  • Following the public consultation, the decision to expand the regulated area beyond Ontario to include Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador was made in consultation with the provinces. Prince Edward Island opted to remain outside of the regulated area.

  • It is important to inspect boxwood plants before moving them by looking for egg masses, larvae, or discharge that could signal the presence of invasive species.

  • Signs of box tree moth include larval feeding damage on the leaves and bark of trees, skeletonized leaves, webbing of the branches with sawdust-like debris (frass), and moulted black head capsules.

  • The movement of box tree moth can be difficult to contain as the species can fly an estimated 5-10 km per year.

  • Anyone wishing to move boxwood plants outside of the regulated area should contact their local CFIA office to discuss certification options.

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Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) touches the lives of all Canadians in so many positive ways. Each day, hard-working CFIA employees—including inspectors, veterinarians and scientists—inspect food for safety risks, protect plants from pests and invasive species, and respond to animal diseases that could threaten Canada's national herd and human health. Guided by science-based decision-making and modern regulations, the Agency works tirelessly to ensure access to safe and healthy food in Canada, and support access to international markets for our high-quality agricultural products. To learn more, visit inspection.canada.ca.

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