EBTS UK members Topbuxus have for over a year been trying to become the sellers of another product to help combat the box tree moth and caterpillar called Tricholine Buxus. You may have seen it when EBTS was on BBC Gardener’s World back at the end of June. Then we said we were hoping it would be available in the UK from 2020. Unfortunately, at least for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t look like DEFRA is going to granted a licence.
Tricholine is produced by a company called Bioline AgroSciences Ltd who produce and market a wide range of invertebrate biological control organisms used for control of insect pests in a range of crops. Their product Tricholine Buxus, won the French Paysalia 1st Prize in 2017 for best new product in the gardening section.
Bioline AgroSciences use a native insect from the Drome region in France as a natural weapon against the Box Tree Moth.
Trichogramma are minute (< 1 mm) parasitic wasps. The female lays its eggs in the eggs of the pests, destroying them and preventing the emergence of caterpillars.
In an effort to show the UK needs more ways to control box tree moth/caterpillar, EBTS encouraged it’s Instagram followers to write to DEFRA in support of giving a licence, it also took advice from a member who sits in the House of Lords on what could be done. Baroness Fookes, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Gardening & Horticulture Group, raised the issue on behalf of EBTS with Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Undersecretary at DEFRA, who responded by explaining that at present the company hadn’t provided enough evidence to prove the micro wasps weren’t a threat to UK native wildlife.
TopBuxus Garden Press Event banner for Box Tree Moth & Caterpillar products
The species in Tricholine Buxus has been added to the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) approved list which means they accept it as native to Europe. Unfortunately this is still unlikely to be enough for DEFRA to approve a licence to bring the wasps into the country, but it might help in the longer term.
Keep your fingers crossed for a postive outcome as the solution, if deployed at the right time, is very effective and stops the pest before it does damage to the box plants.