Illinoisans will now have an effective alternative to tree removal in their arsenal against the emerald ash borer (EAB), a deadly wood-boring beetle that has plagued Illinois and North America long before discovered in 2002.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture on April 15 approved a special local need request for the use of Tree-age™, an insecticide touted as the most effective chemical weapon against EAB. Nearing 100 percent effectiveness, the product, developed by Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta and Massachusetts firm Arborjet, has an active ingredient called emamectin benzoate that is injected directly into the ash tree’s vascular system, where EAB larvae feast. The direct injection affects only the beetle larvae and does not harm anything coming into contact with the tree, such as butterflies, birds, and squirrels.
After yearlong preliminary studies, Michigan—and most recently, Indiana—officials have approved the chemical. Based on results in Michigan, preliminary evidence suggests that a single treatment could provide up to 2 years of control.
Ideally intended as a preventive treatment for healthy, non-EAB-infested trees, Tree-age™ is most suitable for trees in close proximity to EAB-infested areas.
“IDA encourages property owners to consult with a certified arborist or tree-care company to discuss treatment pricing and other options suitable for their situation,” says Warren Goetsch, bureau chief of Environmental Programs. “Cost will be a factor for most homeowners. This tool will most likely be used by golf courses and other landscape areas where entire canopies will be devastated, affecting local commerce.” (Phil Nixon, adapted from Illinois Department of Agriculture news release.)