New Neem Formulation May Revolutionize Pest Control
WATER SOLUBLE NEEM POWDER NOW AVAILABLE
What a year it has been for the introduction of safer products for the organic lawn and garden market. Earlier last spring a selective weed killer hit the market that can help replace toxic chemicals such as 2,4-D, with many folks calling this chelated iron the “holy grail” of lawn weed control.
In the past month, news has spread of another product that may have an even greater impact as an insect control. A Boston-based company known as ArborJet is introducing a water-soluble powder known as AzaSol, which is derived from an evergreen Indian neem tree, Azadirachta indica.
Neem oil has been used medicinally and as an insecticide for more than 5,000 years — including the last 40 in the United States. The breakthrough with the AzaSol product is its high concentration of active ingredient, Azadirachtin, and the fact that, since it’s not in an oil formulation, it readily dissolves into a water solution.
The potential, quite frankly, is enormous.
BACKGROUND ON NEEM
Ancient Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations in India were the first known users of neem as medicine and insect repellents. Other uses were also mentioned in the Indian scriptures of the Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, including the bathing of infants in neem oil, or using neem control for insect bites or to cure other skin ailments. It’s even used in some cultures as birth control.
Back In 1971, an American lumber importer named Robert Larson had seen all the ways the tree was used in the Indian culture and began importing the neem seed to Wisconsin. He called his neem oil extract Margosan-O, which gained clearance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1985. Soon afterward he sold out to the W.R. Grace Co. and the race has been on ever since to formulate neem into everything from shampoo to toothpaste and, most especially, to the gardening and farming world as an insecticide.
Neem oil is used to repel or kill numerous troublesome insects, including the mealy bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, thrips, whiteflies, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leafminers, caterpillars, locust, nematodes and the Japanese beetle. Neem oil is not known to be harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms or some beneficial insects such as butterflies, honeybees and ladybugs. It can be used as a household pesticide for ant, bedbug, cockroach, housefly, sand fly, snail, termite and mosquitoes both as repellent and larvicide. Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and rust.
Neem oil, or Azadirachtin, is not a “contact” insect killer, meaning it doesn’t behave like Raid and “knock ’em dead” instantly. That often leads first-time uses to question the product’s effectiveness in certain situations.
Azadirachtin is a proven natural antifeedant, growth regulator, anti-ovipository and insect repellent, but it can take time to see the full effect of an application. The Azadirachtin blocks insects’ hormone receptors so they forget to eat, to mate, or they stop laying eggs. Some lose the ability to fly. Often, eggs don’t hatch, or the larvae don’t moult, so subsequent generations don’t survive. The complex modes of action are still being studied by scientists around the globe and the various uses for the compound are still being considered.
What we do know now is that neem products are becoming more and more prevalent in the marketplace as people look for safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. The new formulation being introduced to the United States by ArborJet will only escalate the range of uses.
ArborJet has the product ready for sale today in packet sizes ranging from three-quarters of an ounce to several ounces and it is registered with the Boards of Pesticide Control in most U.S. states including California and New York. Its initial market push will be in the tree industry, where the company plans to utilize the water-soluble AzaSol in its patented tree injection systems to combat the hemlock wooly adelgid among other insects.
In the weeks and months ahead, however, company officials will be meeting with representatives from the agricultural, garden retail and other specialty industries to discuss other uses. AzaSol is labeled for outdoor plants, food crops, mushroom houses, plants grown indoors or in greenhouses, shade cloth, interiorscapes and nurseries; it can be applied via soil drench, chemigation, injection or spray.
“AzaSol will change the way the industry looks at azadirachtin products,” said Russ Davis, Chief Operating Officer of Arborjet in the official press release: Here’s the press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101111006210/en/Insects-Beware-Arborjet-Introduces-AzaSol™-TCI-Expo. “It’s great news for landscapers, fruit growers and nursery care professionals who until now have struggled with the stability of azadirachtin (neem oil) products. Since AzaSol is the first powder-based water soluble product, it not only enables us to overcome this issue but also offers the highest concentrated product available at a very competitive price.”
With questions about obtaining AzaSol, or about potential range of usage, call 781-935-9070.