Neem Oil Organic Insecticide
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is one of the most valuable and environmentally friendly products available for organic pest control. The oil is extracted by applying high pressure to the fruits and seeds of the Azadirachta indica tree, which is an evergreen that is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent.
Neem oil affects insect pests by altering their hormones and bodily functions. Some pests will cease to eat and reproduce. It may also affect the respiration of the pests or eggs. The oil applied to eggs will prevent the exchange of gases into and out of the eggs, thus preventing the eggs from hatching. The oil does not provide instantaneous results, but delayed results are a compromise for using organic control.
Neem oil mixtures should be concentrated on the foliage of plants where pests reside. Strong 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. The mixtures are biodegradable and leftover mixtures contain nutrients that plants can uptake.
Neem Insecticide Recipe
- 5 ml neem oil
- 1-2 ml dish detergent or insecticidal soap
- Warm water
- Add neem oil to a 1-liter sized container.
- Add dish detergent or insecticidal soap to the container.
- Vigorously mix the neem oil and soap together. The soap allows the oil to better mix into the water without separating. Dish detergent also has insecticidal properties.
- Slowly fill the container with warm water. Stir vigorously while filling!
- Pour the mixture into a sprayer.
- 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.
- 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.
Pests Controlled by Neem
Neem oil is effective against pests including 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.
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
- Black Spot
- Needle Rust
- Tip Blight
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 other oils when mixed with water.
Neem Oil Poll
Have You Used Neem Oil to Control Pests?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.