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Regulated area for invasive box tree moth expanded to parts of the Maritimes

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has added much of the Maritimes to a regulated area for an invasive species.

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Quebec, have now joined Ontario as part of the regulated area because of the box tree moth.

The CFIA says the decision came after interceptions of the moth in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces last summer, and the confirmation of established populations in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The agency says Prince Edward Island opted to stay outside the regulated area.

“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,” reads a release from CFIA.

“This change is intended to stop the spread of box tree moth to new areas where it is not yet established.”

The insect is not harmful to human health, but is highly destructive to boxwood plants, causing leaf loss and other issues.

“These woody ornamental plants are not native to North America and are widely distributed in nurseries, gardens, and parks,” the CFIA release adds.

“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 agency says the plants can be moved freely within those provinces, but require authorization by the CFIA to be transported outside of them.

If moving the plants, people should look for egg masses, larvae, or discharge.

The CFIA says it is working to prevent the moths from spreading to P.E.I. and west of Ontario.

Anyone who sees a box tree moth outside the regulated areas can report it to the CFIA.

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