This question reminds me of two kids on the playground arguing my dogs better than yours.
Chem Tica claims their product Beetleblock® verbenone is better than Contech’s verbenone, that it lasts longer and therefore you will only need a single application per season vs. the two applications that Contech recommends with their verbenone product.
Contech formerly PheroTech and Beetleblock® as the registered trademark of Chem Tica manufacture the two leading brands of verbenone pouches currently being sold in North America.
Contech is a Canadian company based in British Columbia in the heart of the Canada’s Mountain Pine beetle epidemic. Chem Tica is located in Sto Domingo, Costa Rica.
The Contech pouch starts out loaded with 7gm of verbenone as the active ingredient the Beetleblock® pouch 6.75gm active ingredient.
The Department of Agriculture USFS has done extensive testing at both its Missoula, MT and Pineville, LA Technology Development Centers of both Contech® brand and Beetleblock® brand verbenone pouches. You can find a link to those USFS elution rate studies here.
At first glance it seems clear the study showed that the Beetleblock® product dispensed 20± days longer. End of story? Beetleblock® is better . . . right?
Let’s look a little deeper. I believe the real question is not how long although that is important. I believe the question we should be asking is how much is enough? Let’s examine the dispensing rate. Beetleblock® dispenses an average 6.75gm ÷ 108 days= .06gm/day, Contech’s verbenone pouch an average 7gm ÷ 75 days= .09gm/day or basically 45% more verbenone per day with the Contech product. From what I’ve seen in the field I believe this is important!
Here is why this is important.
1- If you are in an area hard hit by Pine beetles, studies have shown you will need the higher dispensing rate, in fact its been shown on larger trees you may need two verbenone pouches twice per season to improve your protection odds.
2- Do the math, If you apply your verbenone pouches in April, May or early June count out either 75 or 108 days. Do not leave your trees unprotected in the height of the beetle flight.
3- Consider why the USFS selected Contech verbenone pouches as their primary verbenone supplier for 2010.
My advice, plan on two verbenone applications per season and pass off the Beetleblock® one pouch per season as ridiculous hype.
Keywords: Contech verbenone, Beetleblock® verbenone, Chem Tica, Mountain Pine Beetle, Biopesticide, Organic, USFS, Naturopathic, Verbenone
The author John Vanderhart is a Colorado Dept. of Agriculture licensed Qualified Supervisor and is a regular contributor to Forestry Distributing’s blog.