An Odor-Free Insecticide Spray

We have an exciting development for the Fall of 2015 and beyond. We think you will find this very interesting! We now offer a new ODOR FREE product for insecticide tree spraying applications!

In the past we would receive occasional phone calls from clients who didn’t like the odor associated with one of the products that we use for certain spray applications. We understood the complaints as we didn’t like the smell either, but we used the product because quite simply, it was by far the best product that we ever used. It got the job done. It was a very broad spectrum product that killed a plethora of insects with excellent systemic residual value; meaning its effectiveness lasted for weeks. We also knew through prior testing of the old product, that even if it rained just 20 minutes after we sprayed it onto a tree, the rain would not matter. The spray was embedded into the leaf and would do its job.

Recently however, we heard about another product that our supplier said was even better.

Since we never rely on or use a product that we haven’t personally tested ourselves, we set out to do just that. This is how we test…..

We took a Linden tree (the Japanese Beetle’s favorite target) and sprayed half of it with the old product and half with the new product. We let the tree dry and clipped off a small branch with 3 leaves attached from each side of the tree and placed them into separate glass ‘bug aquariums’. Then, we drove to an area that was being hard hit with Japanese Beetles (the toughest insect there is to control with spraying applications) and placed 9 healthy beetles in each aquarium.

Within 2 hours all the beetles in the aquarium with the new product were on the bottom, dying. It took 4 hours for the beetles on the old product to fall to the bottom but either way, no leaf damage. So far so good. We continued this process every day for 28 days. Both products continued to perform but it was evident at the 21 day mark the old product began to fall off on its effectiveness where the new product was still working great. It took 28 days for the new product to begin to lose effectiveness. The leaves showed a little more feeding damage than in the previous days so we knew that ‘most likely’ the new product was as good as claimed.

Most likely you ask? Yes. There was one more test to do before we were sure. How would this new product hold up to rain? Would it retain its effectiveness if it were to rain soon after an application?

We sprayed another tree with the new product and clipped off one of the treated branches. We waited just 15 minutes for the spray to dry. Then we actually submerged the branch into a bucket of clean water and vigorously swished it around (under water) for 5 minutes which is way more water than a tree would ever see during any rain storm. We let the leaves dry again and put them into another bug aquarium with 9 healthy Japanese Beetles. Unbelievably in less than 2 hours the beetles were on the bottom dying with no leaf damage. The tiny bites they took off of one side of the leaf, that were barely noticeable, was enough to make them stop feeding and to kill them.

We kept that branch alive by submerging the cut end in a jar of water within the tank and kept introducing fresh beetles every day for the next week. The new insecticide didn’t miss a beat. Every day all the beetles were dying on the bottom within 2 hours. We knew what we needed to know; that this product was even better than the old product and all with no odor. What a nice find!

It is important to note that all products labeled for residential use are tested and monitored by the Department of Agriculture and EPA. Products of the past like DDT aren’t made any longer, and rightfully so. The product formulations available today are deadly to tiny insects, but safe in their tank mixed form for people, pets and wildlife. It is also important to note that the sprays that we use on trees and shrubs are actually safer and less toxic than store bought spray cans of ant, termite and spider products that folks use inside their homes when necessary.

One might ask… why doesn’t every company use top quality products such as those used by us? Because of the cost. Most other companies compete in the industry by offering low pricing. To achieve that they have to use the most inexpensive products available, products that might kill on contact but basically lose their effectiveness in two days. To get great results you need the products that provide them.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Magnolia Scale

Please Inspect Your Magnolias!
So much for the talk of extreme winter cold possibly killing off or reducing insect populations. We have seen an increase in Locust Plant Bugs, Spruce Mites, Leafminers and especially Magnolia Scale. Please look at the photo of the Magnolia closely.

Notice the leaves that appear black and sticky as shown in the yellow BOX! Notice the white and greyish pods on the undersides of the branches as shown inside the yellow CIRCLES! If you see this on your Magnolia, you have Magnolia Scale on your tree. The effects of this scale will continue to worsen as the Summer progresses.

It may be a bit difficult to notice at first but if you look closely at the leaves on the lower portions of the tree, or other plantings under the tree, and see leaves that look like those pictured, your Magnolia has this problem.  If you have an infected Magnolia that hangs over your deck, patio, or your car, you will really notice this sticky mess as the Summer progresses.

Magnolia Scale cannot be treated until late September and early October. Treating now, when the insects are protected within those previously mentioned white pods, will have no effect on them. We treat in the Fall, after the ‘crawlers’ hatch from the pods. Treating with the proper timing will greatly reduce or eliminate this problem for the following year.

If you suspect that you have Magnolia Scale, give us a call. We will check it out free of charge and detail a treatment plan for you.

Insect Problems for Western Suburbs’ Trees

You might think that the bitterly cold and harsh winter would affect the insect population in our area.  Yet, it appears the cold winter did not affect insect populations at all. We are actually seeing increases in insect activity.

What to look for? Many insect problems result in sap dripping from your trees.  If your car windshield, deck, patio furniture or kids toys are sticky, you have insect problems. If you see shiny spots of sap on leaves on the lower portions of a tree, or even if your grass feels sticky as you walk on it, you have an insect problem which can be quickly and easily rectified.  A few examples include:

Locust Plant Bugs. If you have a locust tree, and the younger leaves at the ends of the branches are curling and browning slightly, you have Locust Plant Bugs. When you sit on your deck or patio on breezy days and your head is itching, you might see tiny, bright green bugs on your arm.  Those are Locust Plant Bugs.

locust trees
The Locust on the left is under our care. The locust on the right is not.

Magnolia Scale Pods on Magnolia, Cottony Maple Scale Pods on Maples and Lecanium Scale Pods.  These different pods all contain insects that are protected within the pods. These insects have one thing in common; they suck the sap from the tree, weakening it, and their bodies excrete a sticky honeydew which drips from the pods, causing sap drippage.  Later, when the insects emerge from the pods, they excrete the same sticky honeydew from their bodies.
lecanium scale pods on crab tree
This photo shows Lecanium Scale pods on a Crab tree.  They appear to be tiny bumps on the branch that looks like lady bugs.

Examples of other Scale pods can be viewed here. These are just a few examples of what you might notice on your property this year and in years to come. Treating trees for these problems can be extremely effective, but only when using the most effective insecticides along with proper timing. Spraying too early, before the insects emerge from the pods, will have no effect on them.

Tree Green wants to work with you to assure the health of your trees.   Please call our office at 630.668.4350 or email us  if you notice an insect problem or other situation affecting the health of your trees.  A Tree Green Arborist will be out to explain what is going on.