Washington, D.C. – March 31, 2022. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed a draft environmental assessment (EA) required under the National Environmental Policy Act for its box tree moth (BTM) control program in New York. The BTM was discovered in Niagara County, New York, in July 2021. The control program proposed in the draft EA for commercial nurseries and landscaped areas where BTM has been detected includes a combination of quarantine measures, survey activities, potential box tree removal, and pesticide use.
The BTM is native to East Asia and has become a serious invasive pest in Europe, where it continues to spread. The caterpillars feed primarily on boxwood and potentially other plant hosts, including mock orange and species of euonymus. Heavy infestations can defoliate host plants. The caterpillars also feed on the bark, leading to girdling and plant death. APHIS is proposing a program to control the spread of BTM to other parts of New York and the United States.
APHIS is announcing through local newspapers in areas of New York State, where the BTM control program may occur, that a notice of availability for the draft EA will be available at https://www.regulations.gov/ (APHIS-2022-0018) for a 30-day public comment period. Anyone wishing to comment on the draft EA should submit comments on https://www.regulations.gov or send comments to the APHIS State Plant Health Director in New York State. APHIS will also post the draft EA on the APHIS website at USDA APHIS | Box Tree Moth.
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