Boxwood: Boxwood psyllid

categories: Boxwood Boxwood Insects Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2023-04-04 12:00

Boxwood psyllid.
Boxwood psyllid
Photo by: K. Grey


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

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • 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.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

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

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

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