Neem Oil Organic Insecticide

Updated on May 23, 2016
seh1101 profile image

Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a certified arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

Neem Tree

Neem tree
Neem tree | Source

Neem Oil Mixture

Ingredients for neem pesticide mixture
Ingredients for neem pesticide mixture | Source

Neem Oil Overview

What is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is extracted by applying high pressure to the fruits and seeds of Azadirachta indica trees.The trees are evergreens indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Neem oil is one of the most valuable and environmentally friendly products for organic pest control. Neem oil mixtures should be concentrated on the foliage of plants where pests reside. Strong neem formulations may burn foliage if applied on a sunny day, so care needs to be taken and directions need to be followed precisely as stated on the label. Neem mixtures are biodegradable and leftover mixtures contain nutrients that plants can uptake.

Neem oil affects insect pests by altering their hormones and bodily functions. Some pests will cease to eat and reproduce. It may also affect respiration of the pests or eggs. Neem oil applied to eggs will prevent the exchange of gases into and out of the eggs thus preventing the eggs from hatching. Neem oil does not provide instantaneous results, but delayed results are a compromise for using organic control.

Neem Mixture in Handheld Mister

Neem, detergent, and water mixed in handheld mixture
Neem, detergent, and water mixed in handheld mixture | Source

Neem Insecticide Recipe

Neem Mixture Recipe

  1. Put 5 ml of neem oil into a liter sized container
  2. Add 1-2 ml of dish detergent or insecticidal soap into the container
  3. Vigorously mix the neem oil and soap together. The soap allows the oil to better mix into water without separating. Dish detergent also has insecticidal properties.
  4. Slowly fill the liter container with warm water. Stir vigorously while filling!
  5. Pour the mixture into a sprayer.
  6. Spray liberally onto infested plants. Make sure to spray all of the foliage, branches, and stems. Use up all of the mixture if possible because it will become less effective over time. Pouring excess mixture into the soil will provide plants with nutrients.
  7. Apply only once a week until the infestation is under control. Neem oil impacts reproduction of many pests but will not provide instant results.

Remember to keep shaking and agitating the mixture. Shaking the sprayer cannot be stressed enough. The results will be very poor if little to no agitation occurs. The neem oil will quickly float to the top of the container if agitation is not sufficient.

Multiply the recipe to make larger mixtures if needed. Household misters, handheld sprayers, backpack sprayers, and even large broadcast sprayers can be used to distribute neem mixtures onto plants.

Neem has a very earthly aroma that some people find unpleasant. Houseplants can be taken outside and sprayed, then brought back inside once the mixture has dried. This will help reduce the aroma of neem.

Spider Mite Webs on Moonflower

Moonflower covered in spider mite webbing.
Moonflower covered in spider mite webbing. | Source

Pests Controlled by Neem

Neem oil is effective against pests such as mealy bugs, beet armyworms, aphids, cabbage worms, thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, Japanese beetle, ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, houseflies, sand flies, snails, termites, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leaf miners, caterpillars, locusts, nematodes, and mosquitoes.

Neem mixtures kill many kinds of larvae and nymphs and is more effective when applied to the younger stages of pests compared to application onto adult pests. Neem oil is not harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms, and some beneficial insects as long as the oil is not concentrated on non-pest sources. Treat neem oil as a chemical pesticide and use the same precautions to prevent reckless and unintended impacts on beneficial critters.

Powdery Mildew on Leaves

Neem Oil can control diseases like powdery mildew.
Neem Oil can control diseases like powdery mildew. | Source

Diseases Controlled by Neem

Neem oil also controls several diseases that can become problematic. Mixing 2 teaspoons of neem oil into a gallon of water should be enough to control the diseases listed below.

  • Leaf spot
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Anthracnose
  • Rust
  • Black Spot
  • Botrytis
  • Needle Rust
  • Tip Blight
  • Alternaria

Remember to keep shaking and agitating the mixture to prevent the neem oil and water from separating. Agitation of the mixture is absolutely vital and results will be very poor if no agitation occurred. The neem oil will float to the top of the water just like others oil when mixed with water.

Neem Oil Poll

Have You Used Neem Oil to Control Pests?

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Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Isagani B.Rollo 11 months ago

        where and how to buy your product neem oil for gardening?how much 1 gallon?

      • seh1101 profile image

        Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        Patsybell - Thank you very much! I already ordered a bottle of neem and a few other controls so I'll be ready right when spring hits.

      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

        What a helpful and detailed guide to using an organic garden treatment. I'll be ready for garden pests this year. voted useful and up, and pintrest.

      • seh1101 profile image

        Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        Bazmak - That's a good idea using Coco-Wet! I think I might have to give it a try. I've used neem as a preventative measure against powdery mildew, but I've yet to try it against a full scale infection. I've heard mixed views on post-infection neem application

        prasetio30 - Thank you! I'm glad I could help!

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

        Very inspiring hub. I learn something new about the plant above and thanks for share about the recipe as well. Voted up!

      • Bazmak profile image

        Bazmak 5 years ago from Michigan

        Never knew it worked on powdery mildew, neat! I like to mix it with some cocowet so it spreads nice and even on my leaves. Should add it to my feeding regiment a little systemic repellant couldn't hurt.

      • seh1101 profile image

        Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        SaraGardner - Thanks! I never knew it could be used like that. I've heard of it being in skincare products though. I'll definitely keep that info in mind!

        travel_man1971 - Thank you much! I've heard of a few neem remedies, but this is the first I've heard of a neem remedy for hangovers. I made a mental note of that for the next time I do a little excessive celebrating!

        rebeccamealey - Thanks! I hope so!

        kikaystuff - Very true! Thank you much!

      • kikaystuff profile image

        kikaystuff 5 years ago from Philippines

        anything organic is excellent. thanks

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        It is good to learn about neem oil. Thanks for making lots of people aware. This Hub will do great deeds!

      • travel_man1971 profile image

        Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

        First-rate info! I also had an experience of boiling neem tree leaves in order to detoxify my tummy due to excessive drinking (that was ages ago). It's so bitter but after that, I felt relieved and rejuvenated.

      • SaraGardner profile image

        Sara Gardner 5 years ago from Finland

        Thank you for the organic insecticide idea, that's really useful! I use organic neem oil on my horses during the summer to stop them being plagued by insects and it works really also means that I don't get bitten either as I'm always covered in it....and it is really good for the skin.

      • seh1101 profile image

        Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        Thank you for the comments, everyone! I was not expecting HOTD, so I made some very minor changes and added a picture of some spider mites that I recently had to control using neem oil.

        I have had great success with neem oil on my houseplants, especially during winter when the air is dry and the furnace is running which are ideal for spider mites and other tiny pests.

        Be forewarned - neem oil has a very earthly aroma which some people many find to be a bit unpleasant.

      • StephanieBCrosby profile image

        Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey


        I do plan on using neem oil this spring and summer for pest control. But I learned from one of my herbalism courses that while it does deter pests, for some reason it draws ants. So I will see how true this is when I try it.

      • csgibson profile image

        Craig Gibson 5 years ago from Traverse City Michigan

        Well done

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

        Thanks much for this info on using neem oil to make an organic pesticide.

        Congrats on your Hub of the Day award, as well!

      • Seema Misra profile image

        Seema Misra 5 years ago from Bangalore, India

        I usually buy an organic neem oil insecticide. However, the recipe you have provided seems quite simple.

        I will try it next time.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida only using organic agents to keep the buggies away.

        I am not familiar with this one so am glad to have come across it.

        Congrats on HOTD...:) and I will be back to read more another day.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Congratulation on the HOTD award! I have not heard about Neem oil before reading your hub. It´s very interesting and useful as I do have a garden with infected flowers. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and more;-)

      • rexy profile image

        rexy 5 years ago

        l researched the web a number of years back... on Neem oil - in India they used this as Insecticide for centuries - good recipe which l shall try out..

      • seh1101 profile image

        Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        Thank you much, Cat! I try to use neem whenever I can... as long as an infestation/disease is not out of control. Sometimes I have to use chemical applications to save plants against severe attacks. But yes, a little perseverance will prove neem very useful!

      • cat on a soapbox profile image

        Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

        Hi Sean,

        Thank for thissxcellent hub on the benefits of neem oil which should be in every gardener's cupboard! Its ability to interupt the lifecycle of pests makes it very effective. I hope your info here helps get the word out that just because the result isn't instantly gratifying doesn't mean it doesn't work. Voted UP and useful.

        Happy gardening,