Boxwood borers cause trouble because they eat all the boxwoods bare that get in their way. There are control agents on the market, but unfortunately they are often not effective enough and certainly not bird-friendly. Animal welfare organizations already warned against these control agents last year. The boxwood borers absorb the chemicals and are then eaten by birds, which then become ill or even die as a result of the pesticide. But are there bird-friendly ways to control the boxwood borer?
Boxwood borer: an ever increasing problem
For years, the boxwood borer has been an increasing problem here in Europe. You too have probably seen it: Boxwood hedges that are being eaten bare by these persistent vermin and are thus becoming increasingly powerless. Of course, manufacturers take advantage of this: one pesticide chases the other. And some of these agents are also downright aggressive. Unfortunately, many of these pesticides are not effective enough. And if such a product has some effect, it is short-lived: the boxwood borer will always find its way to your boxwood hedge quite quickly.
Moreover, these aggressive agents are extremely bad for the environment and, of course, for the birds. Moreover, you should not use such means either, because it can be dangerous for you as well. By the way, natural pesticides are not effective enough either. The fact is that the boxwood borer is a problem that continues to spread. Even if the East Frisian Islands did not have boxwood borers in the beginning, they have now also settled on our pearls of the North Sea. By the way, it is quite possible that we will not be able to solve this problem either, because the box-tree borer has no natural enemies in Europe.
Cabbage and blue tits occasionally eat the caterpillars of the boxwood borer, but even this is not a solution to this problem. For the birds it is difficult to recognize these small boxwood borers even well on the boxwood leaves. Therefore, more and more garden owners are now resorting to chemicals, but this should be avoided: the birds can actually die if they eat boxwood borers that have been administered chemicals. The European Society for the Protection of Birds (Vogelschutzbund), the European Federal Agency for Agriculture (Bundeszentrale für Landwirtschaft) and the European Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt) are currently investigating the connection between such pesticides and the great bird mortality. They therefore also warn against the use of such agents, which are highly toxic.
But how do I control the boxwood borer in a bird-friendly way?
So what can be done to control boxwood borer without harming the birds? Spraying the boxwood hedge with a high-pressure sprayer is said to be effective in this regard. With this, one should be able to remove a large part of the boxwood borer, caterpillars and larvae from the hedge. This should then also make it easier for birds to detect and eat the caterpillars in the hedges. Nevertheless, this is not a simple control method: due to the high pressure of the water, the boxwood itself can then be damaged. Therefore, this method should only be used when your boxwood hedge is already almost dead.
Does this control method have a positive effect? Then you should still wait and see if the boxwood borer does not find its way back into your hedge. It all comes down to one try. In any case, hosing down your hedge is better than using chemicals. By the way, there are garden owners who prefer to remove the eggs, larvae and caterpillars by hand. This is a particularly time-consuming matter, which also does not guarantee success. But again, it comes down to a trial and error. However, do this only if you do not have a particularly long or high box hedge, otherwise the effort will be too much.
But what can I still do to control the boxwood borer?
However, the best and most bird-friendly way to fight the boxwood borer is to use boxwood substitutes. This is because the boxwood borer is only interested in the boxwood: it then particularly targets the sap of the boxwood leaves. Other hedge plants are therefore completely uninteresting for the boxwood borer. It is then best to select a hedge plant that looks particularly similar to the boxwood. However, the most commonly used boxwood substitute is still Ilex crenata, also called Japanese holly. However, you can also use other well-known boxwood replacement options, such as yew, Lonicera nitida (hedge myrtle) or creeping spindle.
This will protect the wonderful and beneficial birds in your garden, and the boxwood borer will also not take any further interest in your garden. In addition, you won’t need to use chemicals anymore. This is much better for the environment, for the birds and of course for yourself. Do you also want to create a boxwood replacement hedge in your garden? Then take a closer look at our webshop, our hedge plant assortment is really versatile. Our boxwood replacement options are high quality, easy to care for, evergreen, in top shape, hardy, healthy and strongly branched. Plant a formal, tight hedge in your yard that resembles a real boxwood hedge in no time!
Do you have any questions now when it comes to wonderful boxwood replacement options? Feel free to contact our expert staff at any time. We are always here for you. Individuals or even businesses can order hedge plants from us online. Our professional team will be happy to help you choose suitable boxwood replacement options, so that the boxwood borer will no longer appear in your garden. We can likewise think together about which boxwood replacement then also best suits your garden. You can then quickly enjoy a decorative garden hedge again, which is healthy, robust and frost-resistant. But also the birds in your garden will be happy about an opaque evergreen hedge.