Archive for February, 2010

ODC – Beetle Prevention Game Changer or Wishful Thinking

February 12th, 2010


The Holy Grail of mountain pine beetle prevention is to create a natural or organic substance that prevents mountain pine beetle (mpb) while doing no damage to wildlife, water and humans.


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Unfortunately past products that promised this haven’t worked well enough. Pheromones, fertilization and integrated tree care all help. However, none of these methods have been as effective as chemical pesticides.

According to an article by North Forty News,  AgriHouse of Berthoud, Colo. is testing a new, natural MPB prevention product, called ODC, aimed at breaking through where others have failed.

Richard Stoner, president of AgriHouse, tells the North Forty News that  “the product was originally developed for NASA to help ‘grow plants in a closed loop system.’  Stoner does not claim any magic solution to the beetle infestation. He describes ODC as ‘a tool in the IPM (integrated pest management) toolbox.’ ”

ODC  testing is being done on a sample of 90 pine tree seedlings in Larimer County, Colorado.  AgriHouse cites a Forest Service study that shows a correlation between increased resin and a reduction in the amount of bark beetle eggs.

George Biedenstein, staff arborist at ArborScape Inc. found a  hole in the company’s test method.

“Pine beetles do not attack seedlings anyway,”  Biedenstein said.  ” They mainly attack older trees over 8 inches in diameter. So I could pour pink lemonade around pine seedlings and they also wouldn’t get pine beetle.”

Generally in a mountain setting, pine trees take anywhere from 5 to 7  years to attain the size that attracts a mountain pine beetle colony.  So it could be a decade before this study garners any data.  Studies done on stands of pine trees in Norway, France and Florida have shown that chitosan based products do slow down the blue stain fungus that many arborists believe causes the host pine tree to perish.

ODC is designed to strengthen a pine tree’s ability to resist the mountain pine beetle. ODC uses chitosan which helps pine trees produce more resin.  Studies of bark beetle activity have shown that trees with more resin are not as an attractive host to MPB eggs.

However it all sounds like wishful thinking to us. What do you think?

Matt Johnson is a blogger and reporter covering arboricultural and tree care issues.  He writes for Mountain Pine Beetle Treatment and ArborScape.

New pine beetle treatment tested

February 12th, 2010

By Stephen Clearheart Johnson
North Forty News

- February 3rd, 2010-

Residents of Crystal Lakes, (Colo.), northwest of Red Feather Lakes, are reforesting burned areas with seedlings treated with a new product that promises to strengthen each tree’s ability to resist the mountain pine beetle.

Resident Kathy Dillon-Durica recently planted 90 seedlings and treated them with a product trademarked ODC, produced by AgriHouse Inc. of Berthoud.

The product uses a natural substance called chitosan, made from Icelandic shellfish. Diluted with water, the product is applied like a fertilizer around the base of trees. In turn, the chitosan stimulates the tree to produce more resin. Read the rest at North Forty News.

Get a quote on mountain pine beetle spraying from ServiceMagic

Game changing MPB product on the horizon from Arborjet (if the approval ever happens!)

February 4th, 2010

There have been rumors among arborists and even newspaper stories that Arborjet has been working on a product that would be the first legitimate, labeled mountain pine beetle product that could actually eliminate an adult pine beetle. Legacy chemicals only impede the ability of the beetle to reproduce. I interviewed Sean Michael Facey, manager of marketing communications for Arborjet in Woburn, MA about the ongoing approval process for their MPB chemical. Are you releasing a product to combat mountain pine beetle?

Facey: Yes and no. Yes, we have a product for pine beetles, but no, it can’t be released for use until it is registered. The process is long and complicated, but the bottom line is we are working with the government to try to get that product to the market. The product you are working on, is it a contact pesticide? Would it kill mature mountain pine beetles?

Facey : The product is not a contact poison, it must be ingested. The product must be applied prior to attack by the beetle so when the beetle initiates its attack, it has to chew into the cambium where it will likely ingest the material and die, thwarting the successful invasion and subsequent reproductive process. You mentioned the complicated process of government approval. What agencies are involved?

Facey : The EPA, the US Forest Service and the state regulatory boards that have jurisdiction over pesticide application and labeling in their state. Do you think they (agencies) understand the importance of speed in the MPB epidemic?

Facey :Whether they understand the importance is a good question that I cannot answer. What I can tell you is that I have talked to countless property owners in the areas most affected by mountain pine beetle and to a person they are extremely frustrated with the responsible government agencies and feel that they should be doing more to deal with this problem.

Matt Johnson is a blogger and reporter covering arboricultural and tree care issues.  He writes for Mountain Pine Beetle Treatment and ArborScape.

FAQ about mountain pine beetle

February 1st, 2010

Check out the short FAQ about spraying for the mountain pine beetle. Leads to another website.

Mountain Pine Beetle – Basic Symptoms

February 1st, 2010

The most obvious symptoms of pine beetle infestation are pitch tubes. These are masses of sticky sap that resemble wads of chewing gum stuck to the trunks of the trees. Pitch tubes are a defense mechanism of the host tree. If the tree can produce enough pitch it can push out the attacking insect and entomb it in a sticky mess.

Evidentially this strategy has been fairly successful for millions of years. Ancient insects can be found trapped in amber produced by trees that lived during the Mesozoic era.

The beetles produce chemicals called pheromones. These are chemicals that tell every other pine beetle in the neighborhood that a tree is being attacked. It is not uncommon to find a tree with hundreds of pitch tubes next to a tree that has been untouched.

Other symptoms of pine beetle and Ips beetle infestation are extensive woodpecker activity, fine boring dust at the base of the trees, or the presence of the beetles themselves. They are small (1/8 to 1/3 inch long) and resemble tiny Volkswagen microbuses. They are anywhere from a black to a rusty reddish brown color ( like most surviving Volkswagen microbuses). Trees that have been successfully attacked will usually still look green until the next summer, when the needles will all turn reddish brown, seemingly all of the sudden. By this time the beetles have often already left the host tree to infest others in the neighborhood and beyond.

The adult beetles carry Blue Stain Fungus with them when they move to a new host tree. This fungus stains the wood a purplish color and clogs up the water carrying tissues in the tree. The role of this fungus in the pine beetle’s life is not fully understood. It may help weaken the tree’s ability to pitch the beetles out. It may make the wood more nutritious for the beetles. It is probably a combination of many factors.