Fruiting neem tree

Neem oil as a pesticide has steadily increased in usage and popularity over the past few years.

Why?

Neem oil is 100% natural and non-toxic to humans and pets, is inexpensive, and offers a long-term solution to pest problems.

Since the oil is completely environmentally-friendly and easily broken down, more and more people are turning to neem oil as a biopesticide for their home and garden.

 

How Does Neem Oil Work?

Neem oil is extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

It works by interrupting the reproductive cycle of insects. Once ingested, it affects the hormonal system of the insect, causing it to forget to eat and stop moulting, mating and laying eggs.

This eventually sees the complete destruction of the insect population in the designated area as the older insects die off without producing offspring.

Neem oil is also powerfully aromatic and gives off an odour that insects do not like, protecting plants by making them unappealing.

 

What is Neem Oil Effective Against?

Neem oil is an effective repellent of a wide variety of common garden bugs, including caterpillars, nematodes, locusts, aphids, Japanese beetles and mites.

In the home, neem oil can be used to combat ant, cockroach, fly, termite, mosquito and bedbug infestations.

It has no known adverse affects on mammals, birds, bees, butterflies and ladybugs.

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How Do I Make My Own Neem Oil Pesticide?

Neem oil is a cost-effective pesticide.

You can buy neem oil sprays in a garden centre, but if you’d like to make your own, it’s a very simple process.

This way, you can control the quality of the ingredients, the concentration levels and the cost – it is often far cheaper in the long run to make your own neem oil spray than buying a pre-made version in a store, like the one pictured below:

store bought neem oil
Photo by bnpositive via CC BY-SA 2.0

Store versions can also be less potent, with a lower concentration of the active ingredient, Azadirachtin.

To make your own neem oil pesticide spray, follow these steps:

 

1. Start with a base

Start with a base of good-quality neem oil or neem leaf extract.

Look for 100% pure oils, also called crude or raw neem oil.

It needs to be cold pressed as head destroys the Azadirachtin, and you might like to look for organic neem oil as well as this will ensure no contamination with petrochemicals or solvents has taken place during the purification process.

If you don’t have a local store that sells it, you can buy some on Amazon.

 

2. Emulsify

Since neem oil does not readily mix with water, you’ll need to use an emulsifier like a mild liquid soap.

 

3. Mix

To make one litre of general-purpose neem oil spray, mix 5 mL neem oil, 2 mL of liquid soap and 1 L of water.

Add the soap to the water first and then slowly stir in the neem oil.

 

4. Pour and Spray

Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and it is ready to use.

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You’ll need to use the mix within 8 hours as beyond that the ingredients will start to break down.

 



Important Note: If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, consult your doctor before using neem oil as it can interfere with your hormonal system.

 

Learn more about Neem Benefits

Whether it’s being used for a natural pesticide, or a home remedy, the oil of the neem tree can be used in many aspects of our lives.

Neem oil serves multiple purposes that may otherwise be provided by dangerous chemicals.

In the infographic below, the life of Neem is illustrated, including the details of the Neem tree itself, whose name translates to “perfect, complete and imperishable”, as well as some of its best known uses.

Life of Neem

Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Hi ! One can also use Soapnut Powder as Herbal Emulsifier in case they want to keep everything herbal. Nevertheless, important is that the final solution has to be used in 8 hrs after preparation and preferably sprayed in early mornings and late evenings ( as Azadirachtin is UV sensitive ). Secondly one must spray on the underside of the leaves too where most of the pests / larvae reside. In case you see your plant is sunburnt, conclude that you have used less emulsifier. All the best ! Milan, Neem Tree Promoter & Specialist

  2. will the neem oil mix if it has gone solid? If I warm it up a bit, for it to dissolve in water, will it not resolidify if I remix it with the water I am going to spray with?

  3. how can I make a mix that will last longer than 8 hours? It must be possible, because the store-bought sprays all last a lot longer than that.

  4. […] Indians have high reverence for Neem. Neem oil is a potent pest repellent that works on all plants. Neem juice is the most reliable insect repellent in the world that is entirely natural, with over 25 potent natural insecticides in it. You can make a natural pesticide-spray by taking some Neem leaves yourself. Add ½ a pound of organic Neem oil and a little liquid soap to two cups of warm water and mix slowly. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, and you have your Neem spray ready for use. […]

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