By Rhonda Massad
The City of Laval confirmed in a press release on Oct. 30, that there is a significant infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect in the city. The insect has been found in at least 34 of 66 traps installed during the summer season. Sectors that have been infested are Trieste/Jura (sector 6) intersection; Christos Karigiannis Park (sector 3) and near the Chomedey woods; Lady Bug Park (sector 3).
The inventory and marking of ash is underway with a radius of 300 metres around trees where insects were discovered. Public trees will be treated with a pesticide called TreeAzin in the summer of 2015 or felled.
TreeAzin, a Class 4 pesticide determined by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, is the most widely used product available in Canada, it is produced by the BioForest company from the extract of neem seeds a product of the neem tree.
TreeAzin is effective against a variety of insects that consume tree tissues, not only will EAB larvae be affected, other insects feeding on the treated tree will be as well.
According to Health Canada the toxicology database for NeemAzal Technical, the active ingredient in TreeAzin, did not undergo the usual amount of studies required for pesticide registration.
In the available studies it was determined that the health effects in animals given repeated oral doses of NeenAzal included effects on the blood, liver, thyroid and kidney. When given to pregnant animals there were irregular bone ossification as well as heart abnormalities. Effects were present in both mother and fetus.
Although it is impossible to stop the presence of EAB, its progression can be slowed. It is to this end that the city conducted in 2014, the preventive treatment of 250 ash trees on public land. This number will increase to 1,000 next year. The city has approximately 5,000 public ash trees.
Slowing the inevitable mortality of the ash trees is a concerted effort. Every resident is responsible for their own ash trees.
Symptoms of an infested ash are characterized by the premature yellowing of foliage, mortality of branches, thinning crown and the formation of cracks in the bark. When these signs are detected, it is necessary to use a contractor or a consultant specializing in urban forestry to determine if there is infection or not. The expert chosen must have experience in the detection method by barking, which is the best way to identify larvae of EAB in a tree.
As with the public trees the choice is to treat or fell the tree. To cut down a tree in Laval, a permit is required. The wood collection service is offered free by the City of Laval if the ash is contaminated, the whole must be accompanied by a proof provided by a contractor.
To help you identify the signs of infestation, see the French visual guide to detecting damage caused by EAB prepared by the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada.