Ottawa Claims TreeAzin Failure at 1 application per year | Joe Meating Reassures Success | Letter: TreeAzin saves ash trees


Letter: TreeAzin saves ash trees


Trails of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle are carved on a tree on Alexandre Lacoste St. Montreal, Tuesday July 17, 2012.

Photograph by: Phil Carpenter , The Gazette


Re: “Fighting the emerald ash borer” (Your Views, Jan. 24)

I read with great interest the comments from Jean-Daniel Azuelos regarding the fight against emerald ash borer (EAB) and, in particular, his concerns over the use of the injectable product, TreeAzin Systemic Insecticide. TreeAzin, a product derived from seed extracts of the neem tree, has a registration record that speaks for itself. After a rigorous review of efficacy and toxicity data, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) registered TreeAzin for use against EAB in Ontario and Quebec in 2008 and across Canada in 2012. TreeAzin is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production in the U.S. and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has scheduled it as a Class 4 pesticide, which designates TreeAzin as a least hazardous commercial pesticide. TreeAzin® is also exempt from Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act, unlike other products on the market for the control of EAB.

Azuelos expressed concern that other organisms have built resistance to azadirachtin, the active ingredient in TreeAzin. Most studies examining resistance development in other target insect species have actually shown relatively low resistance to azadirachtin compared to other insecticides. It must also be noted that most of these studies involve intentional over-exposure to lab populations to induce, if possible, and measure resistance. Scientific research has shown that, while it is possible to induce resistance to azadirachtin in aphids over 40 generations with repeated exposure to pure azadirachtin, resistance to only semi-pure products, such as TreeAzin, has not been shown. Given that azadirachtin does not persist in the injected tree or its surroundings and that only a very small fraction of any EAB population would ever be exposed, the potential for resistance to TreeAzin developing is infinitesimally small under a scenario of systemic injections used to protect high value ash trees.

Regarding TreeAzin’s toxicity to aquatic wildlife and bees, research has shown that azadirachtin is markedly less toxic to wildlife and bees than other insecticides registered for use against EAB. Moreover, ash trees are wind pollinated and TreeAzin is only used post-bloom via systemic injection, so only organisms directly foraging within or on treated trees can be exposed. Further, azadirachtin residues persist for only a few weeks, are not quantifiable in senescent leaf tissues, and have shown no effects on degrading organisms. When used as labelled, TreeAzin saves ash trees, while posing minimal risk to mammals, birds, bees, and soil and aquatic ecosystems.

Joe Meating

President, BioForest Technologies Inc.

Sault Ste-Marie, Ont.