5 Questions with Matt Andrus

Special Advertising Section - Special Advertising Section | Ask the experts: Insecticides

When considering a new product for your integrated pest management (IPM) plan, it’s important to learn its chemical makeup and how it will be compatible with your current IPM products and equipment. Here, Arborjet Horticultural Specialist Matt Andrus explains how the neem-derived AzaSol works, and how you can implement this organic and OMRI-listed product into your operation.

July 10, 2018

1. Why should a cannabis cultivator consider a water-soluble pest management product?

The water solubility of an insecticide allows it to get into the plant quickly, and it also allows the plant to process it quickly. AzaSol, which is both a systemic and translaminar product (meaning it can be taken up through the roots and penetrate through foliage tissue), has a unique formulation in that it is organic and OMRI-listed. Another good thing about the water solubility of AzaSol is that once it goes from powder into liquid state, it remains in that liquid state and doesn’t separate. Once it has been mixed, no further mixing or agitation is required, whether you’re using a 1-gallon hand sprayer or a 200-gallon tank.

2. How does a powdered formula’s shelf life compare to other products used to control pests?

AzaSol’s shelf life is at least two years. Because this product is powdered, there’s almost no component within that powder that is going to aid in degradation (such as alcohols, surfactants, etc.), provided it’s kept out of the light and stored in a cool, dry place. If you were to mix AzaSol in water, the half-life is about 100 hours—so if you were to mix 6-percent AzaSol, 100 hours later it’d be at 3 percent. One hundred hours after that, it’d be at 1.5-percent, and so on. The fact that it breaks down that much is what led to the idea to formulate the product into a dry, sealable version. Not only are you eliminating water weight and shipping—this is the most concentrated we could get at the most stable formulation that was possible at the time.

3. At what concentrations am I able to formulate AzaSol into a solution for my grow?

Typically, horticultural pests would be affected somewhere in the range of 10 parts per million (ppm) to 100 ppm. And that range covers most horticultural pests you’re going to encounter, like horn worms (those are extremely sensitive to azadirachtin—they’re at the 10-ppm range), to spider mites that aren’t really insects (they’re arachnids), which are at the 100-ppm range. With AzaSol starting at 6-percent azadirachtin, that’s approximately 65,000 parts per million, so it’s extremely concentrated.

4. How compatible is AzaSol with other insect-controlling products?

It’s a great companion product. Going back to the solubility factor, if you break down AzaSol in some water first, you can then mix that with any of the contact pesticides you would normally be using. You’ll be getting the systemic activity of the AzaSol, but if you’re combining it with a contact pesticide that you’re used to using, now you can get a one-two punch, where you could potentially be using lower concentrations of both products and stretching your application frequency. You don’t want to use AzaSol with anything north of a 7.0 pH (like calcium-based products), but anything acidic is typically fine to mix with. Also of note is that AzaSol does not have pose phytotoxicity (burning) to foliage in seedling, cutting or multi-application mature stages.

5. Will AzaSol be compatible with my current equipment?

The biggest benefit is that you can use it in fogging systems—whether it’s a static system or something handheld that you’re moving around with. You can also use it in a Dosatron, or within your drip irrigation system. Again, because AzaSol is water soluble, it won’t clog up irrigation lines or gum up sprayers—it makes large volume applications very simple.