Time to check those hedges again: we receive bad news that the box tree moth caterpillars are back. And they’re hungry.

The leaf-munchers have been spotted in Cromwell Road too this time, as well as right down by South Park Gardens.

box bush destroyed by caterpillar infestatiion
Tell-tale signs of a box bush under attack

If you value your box bushes, it is vital that you check them on a daily basis while the moth is active laying eggs. Once they hatch, you end up with hundreds of hungry caterpillars wreaking havoc on your garden plants.

Pick off all caterpillars and destroy them. Ditto any eggs you find. Then spray the plant thoroughly with a bug treatment such as Provado (in stock in Wimbledon at Robert Dyas this week, but much cheaper to buy at Wilco in New Malden).

Keep checking daily even after you’ve sprayed: I am still finding the odd caterpillar on bushes that I sprayed both yesterday and the day before. Cut out affected areas to get rid of any remaining eggs and help the plant recover.