WSU Extension


Box blight 
Leaf spot 
Phytophthora root rot 
Boxwood leafminer 
Boxwood mite 
Boxwood psyllid 

print version| pdf version| email url    
Caption: Boxwood psyllid
Photo by: K. Grey
Boxwood : Boxwood psyllid
(revision date: 1/22/2016)

The presence of the boxwood psyllid is indicated by the cupping of leaves at the tips of terminals. The white immature psyllids (nymphs) feed on the developing buds and leaves at the tips of branches, causing the characteristic cupping and sometimes killing the buds. The greenish, aphid-like adult psyllids are about 1/8" long and jump. Honeydew, a shiny, sticky material produced by the insects, may be present. The honeydew may become covered with a growth of black sooty mold. English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is reported to be somewhat less susceptible.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Do not force plants into accelerated growth, as psyllids prefer new, succulent growth for feeding.
  • Clip distorted terminals to improve appearance of plants. Otherwise, minimize shearing of plants, since it stimulates new growth preferred by psyllids.
  • Conserve naturally-occurring predators such as ladybird beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill these beneficial insects.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply when symptoms are first noticed. Adequate penetration must be achieved since leaf cupping gives some protection to these pests from pesticides.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Hi-Yield 55% Malathion Spray
    Active ingredient: malathion  |  EPA reg no: 7401-10-34911
  • Safer Brand BioNEEM Multi-Purpose Insecticide & Repellent Conc [Organic]
    Active ingredient: azadirachtin  |  EPA reg no: 70051-6-42697
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.

+ Show larger images

Caption: Boxwood psyllid
Photo by: K. Grey
Caption: Boxwood psyllid damage
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli