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ODC Colloidial Chitosan, Panacea or Snake Oil?

Agrihouse Inc the manufacturer of ODC Colloidial Chitosan has been on a marketing crusade promoting their newly EPA approved formulation of Colloidial Chitosan as nothing less than a miraculous, low cost and ecological cure for pine beetle. If you haven’t seen a story in the paper or on TV about this product then you probably live in a cave or out in a forest.

Colloidial Chitosan has been around for a while and has seen many lives including uses as a human diet supplement. In a nut shell or better put, a shrimp shell, yes actually byproduct marine shrimp and other crustaceans shells are ground up, there's some hocus pocus and voi-la, out of a hat or test tube or something comes ODC. I’ve heard if they modified just a few ingredients they’d have Jambalaya.

As a Colorado Department of Ag licensed Qualified Supervisor and having been in the Mountain Pine Beetle treatment and prevention business professionally for going on 8 years I have always been reluctant to promote or endorse a new product until I can touch it, have used it and I can vouch for it personally. So that being said, why has Forestry Distributing picked up Agrihouse’s ODC?

It’s simple, while I would be reluctant to promote ODC alone as a defense against Mountain Pine Beetle I believe it can play an important role in a well conceived Integrated Pest Management “IPM” strategy. At present the tool box of organic measures and biopesticides is limited. Insect pheromones like Verbenone for Mountain Pine beetle and MCH for Douglas-fir beetle are effective but have their limitations. I welcome a product like ODC as just another naturopathic tool to combat these beetles.

By pre-arming drought stressed trees with additional sap, ODC Colloidial Chitosan helps trees naturally combat Pine beetles hydraulically. As the beetles attempt to bore in, sap pours out and hopefully the beetle is entombed and dies. Have you ever seen those pre-historic bugs in amber? Additionally, Agrihouse claims that pine pitch pre-armed with ODC is stickier.

Although the jury is still out as to ODC being able to live up to all the hipe, treating the trees of chemically sensitive individuals, trees in and around schools and playgrounds, organic vegetable gardens, riparian areas and along lakes, ponds and stream banks and other areas not suited for traditional pesticide application now have an additional tool in the fight against Pine beetles.

Keywords: ODC Colloidial Chitosan, Agrihouse, Mountain Pine Beetle, Biopesticide, Organic, Naturopathic, Verbenone, MCH

The author John Vanderhart is a Colorado Dept. of Agriculture licensed Qualified Supervisor and is a regular contributor to Forestry Distributing’s blog. 

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