I was in Carnation WA at Camp Korey last week taking a look at their trees and came across several very sick Holly trees. There were several things going on with them including some severe Sapsucker damage (I’ll discuss that in a future post) which very likely made them more susceptible to other pests. The damage pictured here appears to be leaf chewing from the larva of the Holly Bud Moth (Rhopobota naevana).
Unfortunately Holly (Ilex) isn’t the only plant this moth will feed on. It can also cause damage on Blueberry, Apple, Cherry and Cranberry, among others. It’s not apparent from the research I’ve seen how readily it spreads between plant species, but this may be another reason to get rid of any English Holly trees that are a home to this pest. It is on the “monitor list” of the Washington State Weed Control Board after all.
Here is more information on Holly Bud Moth.