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box caterpillars

Very Hungry Box Caterpillars – A Formidable Enemy

Towards the end of May last year, when the two mature box (buxus) hedges at the front of our house should have been sprouting new leaves, I noticed that barren patches were starting to appear. These hedges were planted 20 years ago and provide attractive green borders for two miniature gardens, so the sudden change in their appearance was worrying.

You Can Lose Your Box Hedges in a Fortnight!

I had heard on the news that box tree moth caterpillars were spreading rapidly in the UK, so I peered inside the hedges to take a closer look at what was going on. To my horror, I found dozens of these bright green and black menaces munching away on the leaves. Around 30% of our hedges had already been stripped of all their greenery before I had even realised what was happening. My grandson loves the children’s story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” – I wanted to show him a real life version, but I guess he might have found this a bit scary!