Pros: Kills tree borings insects and leaf miners, saving your trees. Highly concentrated and toxic.
Cons: Truly nasty, skunky smell. Requires gloves and goggles. Stains bark. Highly concentrated and toxic.
Dragon Cygon 2E systemic insecticide
We bought this product in desperation after boring insects started attacking a beautiful, large white birch that is right in front of our house. First we started noticing ugly, black raises trails under the bark of our white birch. We found insects under there that are more than an inch long. Here in southern New Hampshire boring insects are wiping out white birch trees, which are in my opinion the loveliest of the birch species.
We called several tree surgeons and they were charging upwards of $300 a visit to treat our white birch, with no guarantee of success. However, after a visit to the local grain and feed store my wife was advised to locate Cygon insecticide and treat it ourselves. We contacted Merrifield Garden Center a mail order outfit in Virgina, and yes they had the product Dragon brand Cygon 2E
Here is their website: http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com
At first there was some confusion about whether the product could even be shipped to New Hampshire but eventually we prevailed -- you will want to check local regulations before you order this stuff. We paid $12.99 for an 8 ounce bottle. They now offer a 16 ounce size for $14.99 which is a much better value if you have many trees. But the 8 ounce will treat one tree two or three times and that is all it will take to save that tree. Unless you have multiple trees I would use the smaller bottle and use it up.
What is Cygon 2E?
Cygon 2E is a systemic insecticide. Unlike baits that get eaten by insects, or sprays that you spray on plants, a systemic insecticide is absorbed by the tree that you are trying to treat. It then protects the tree from attack "from the inside". Any insects living under the bark die and any new invaders also quickly die.
The technical name for Cygone 2E is Dimethoate [0,0-dimethyl S-(N-methylcarbamoyl-methyl) phosphorodithioate: 23.4% Notice the "23.4%". This is an extremely powerful concentrated pesticide. From this 8 ounce bottle for many spray application you only need one teaspoon mixed with a gallon of water which should give you some idea just how powerful this chemical is. This pesticide is not a garden variety chemical like Sevin and it is not for the faint-of-heart. I am not saying a homeowner can't do it yourself, but use precautions. The fact that Cygon 2E is highly concentrated and toxic is both a pro and a con. A little goes a long way.
How to use Cygon 2E?
There are two ways to use Cygon. First as a foliar spray, which means you dilute just one to four teaspoons in a gallon of water, and spray it on trees and shrubs. This will kill insects like leaf miners.
However, for the boring beetles or leaf miners that we have, a dilute spray on is not effective for these devil-spawn. For birch trees only (because the birch has a thin, papery bark that absorbs chemicals), you paint on Cygon 2E full strength directly on the bark, all along the circumference of the tree, and the width of the stripe is equal to the diameter of the tree trunk but no more than a six inch wide stripe in any case. I used a plastic party-ware bowl and a disposable 2" foam paint brush for the task. I wore Playtex gloves and plastic eyegoggles the kind you wear in chemistry class. Wear long pants and long sleeves too. At about chest height, paint the Cygon onto the tree trunk. You will use up a couple of ounces of the concentrate for a good sized white birch. The stuff is thick but it does drip. Start at the top and work your way down. A good thick painted coat of Cygon will use about 2 ounces or 1/4 of the 8 oz. bottle. 2 oz. equals 12 teaspoons, which is enough to make 12 gallons of spray -- so be careful handling this concentrate.
The directions say do it in the spring before the buds form, and once again in the fall.
After you are done put the plastic bowl and brush in a large baggy and throw it out.
Note: there are many other uses for Cygon 2E and I am just touching on the specific use that we had for it. Check the official Dragon website for more information.
Warning not for use on fruits or vegetables
Cygon 2E is for saving trees and ornamental bushes. This is not a garden insecticide -- do not use this or any other systemic insecticide on fruits or vegetables. The whole purpose of a systemic is that the poison stays inside the tree and persists there. So for obvious reasons you do not want Cygon 2E anywhere near your food supply. If you have pesky garden insects in your vegetable garden use something that does not persist, like Sevin or permethrin (Bug B Gone). Fair warning.
How effective is Cygon 2E?
This product Cygon 2EE really works as advertised. Since painting the birch tree the tree has come back to full bloom. Of course nothing is going to remove the existing, ugly black scars on the tree left by these borers. But as far as I can tell the borers are dead. We would have expected the tree to be dead by now without treatment according to the local arborists, but Cygon 2E saved our white birch.
A few tradeoffs
Cygon 2E will stain the bark of the birch tree. Remember, the whole idea is that the bark absorbs Cygon 2E and it runs through the veins of the tree. However, this staining can be expected to go away by the end of the year -- remember that birch trees shed their papery bark.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Cygon 2E really stinks. It has a strong, skunky kind of smell. They ship it in a sealed bottle and a plastic zip-lock bag outside the bottle. But you can still smell it in the garage. I don't expect we will need it much longer though -- the fall treatment, then 2 more treatments next year just to be on the safe side, and the bottle will be used up. However this is a small price to pay for saving a beautiful birch tree from certain death by boring beetles.
I would recommend Dragon Cygon 2E very highly to anyone with birch trees that are infested with borers. This literally saved my tree and saved me $600 in tree surgeon treatments as well. Be sure you follow label directions and wear protective gloves and eyewear when using Cygon. This is a five star product in every sense of the word.