An Asian species, first recorded in the British Isles from Kent in 2007, where it was attracted to light. Since then sightings have increased greatly and is now encountered frequently across the south and even central London.

The Box Moth Cydalima perspectalis is a striking moth that was accidentally introduced to the UK originating from south-east Asia. The larvae feed on various species of box Buxus spp. In addition to the form figured there is a melanic variation, the wings being purplish brown with a white spot near the centre of the forewing. The first report of this moth was from Kent in 2007 and by 2011 larvae had been found in private gardens. This species is now well established in the London area, where it is spreading and the population appears to be growing (and is occasionally found in numbers). In recent years it has gained a strong foothold in Essex, Surrey, Hertfordshire and parts of Berkshire. The moth has now been recorded widely over large parts of England, particularly in the south, with the larval stage being found in several widely distributed localities.

The moth was first reported in Scotland (from Fife) in 2018, it having also been reported from several areas in Wales. There have been increasing reports of the adult moth from coastal localities along southern and south-eastern England, these likely to be primary immigrants from the continent.

Where larval numbers are high it can disfigure ornamental Box hedgerows and topiary and can defoliate plants completely. The Box Moth is also considered to be a serious pest in parts of Europe on various species of box. In late 2018 Butterfly Conservation updated its advice note on this species.

Flight Season

Flies from late July through to mid-September in one generation.

Size and Family

  • Family – Crambidae
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 40mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Established immigrant/accidental reintroduction

Caterpillar Food Plants

The caterpillars feed on and are a pest of box (Buxus), and they almost certainly arrived in the UK on imported Buxus plants.

Habitat

Can be found in gardens in the south of England.

Distribution

  • Countries – England

  • Imported/possible resident

Downloads and advice

Box Moth Advice Note 

Pest moth information

Box-tree moth - Ben Sale

Box-tree moth

Box-tree moth - Vlad Proklov

Box-tree moth

Box-tree moth (dark form) - Vlad Proklov

Box-tree moth (dark form)

Box Moth - Garry Barlow

Box Moth

Box Moth caterpillar - Vlad Proklov

Box Moth (caterpillar)