Caterpillar ‘could mean the end of box hedges in ɫ˸’

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ISLANDERS might have to bid farewell to their beloved box hedges as one invasive – and hungry – species of caterpillar continues to wreak havoc in people’s gardens.

Environmentalist and JEP columnist Bob Tompkins says the box tree caterpillar – or box moth – is becoming more common in the British Isles.

And people from across the Channel Islands are appealing for help to banish the invasive species.

Mr Tompkins said: “Unfortunately we are going to see the demise of an awful lot of box hedges. It could mean the end of box hedges in ɫ˸.

“We’re going to have to learn to live with this invasive species. Once it is here, there is very little you can do about it.”

Bob Tompkins at home alongside some of his sculptures. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (38048377)

He explained that the box tree caterpillar was a relatively new pest, after it spread from east Asia to Britain just over a decade ago.

Causing most of its damage between March and October, the species can destroy a box ball hedge within a week if action is not taken, according to Gardener’s World.

Mr Tompkins said: “Once the species gets into a different environment, it loses most of its predators in one fell swoop and the world is its oyster.”

The only solution, he added, was to find an alternative to the box hedge.

He said: “You can spray pesticides to kill the caterpillar, but the chances are that just a matter of weeks down the road, the box moth will come back. There is very little to do other than getting rid of that hedge and replacing it with something else. That’s what has been done in the UK and in France, where they are having similar problems with it and losing a huge amount. And it’s what will have to happen here.”

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