How to Make Your Own Neem Oil Pesticide

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Fruiting neem tree

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In recent years, the demand for organic and homemade solutions for garden care has surged. Among these, neem oil stands out as a highly effective, natural pesticide.

This article provides a great solution for those who are interested in a DIY approach to garden pest control. Whether you’re looking for a ‘homemade neem oil’ recipe, curious about ‘how to make neem oil’ from scratch, or in need of a ‘neem oil spray recipe,’ this guide covers it all. It’s designed for enthusiasts who prefer the ‘DIY neem oil’ method over commercial products and those who appreciate ‘home made neem oil’ for its purity and effectiveness.

Here, you’ll learn not just how to create your own neem oil blend but also how to apply it effectively as a spray for your plants.

What is Neem Oil Pesticide?

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

Neem oil 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?

Homemade neem oil pesticide is renowned not only for its immediate impact on pests but also for its long-term effectiveness in controlling insect populations. The primary mode of action of neem oil in pest control is through disrupting the life cycle of insects.

When insects consume neem oil-coated leaves or come into contact with it, the active compounds in neem oil, particularly Azadirachtin, interfere with their hormonal system. This disruption leads to a series of physiological malfunctions – the insects lose their appetite, rendering them unable to eat, which gradually weakens them. Additionally, these hormonal changes cause failures in their ability to moult – a critical process for growth in many insects.

The reproductive cycle of these pests is also severely impacted. Neem oil hampers their mating behaviors and their ability to lay viable eggs. As a result, the insect population in the treated area starts to decline. This decline is not immediate, but as the older insects die naturally, they leave behind no offspring to continue their lineage, leading to the gradual but complete collapse of the pest population in the treated area.

Beyond its systemic and reproductive effects, neem oil acts as a potent deterrent due to its strong odor. This smell is highly unappealing to a wide range of insects, adding another layer of protection for plants. When sprayed on plants, the distinctive aroma of neem oil makes the plants unattractive to pests, effectively preventing them from approaching or feeding on the plants. This olfactory repellent property complements the more direct toxic effects of neem oil on insects, making it a comprehensive pest management solution.

In summary, homemade neem oil pesticide offers a multi-faceted approach to pest control. By disrupting the feeding, growth, and reproduction of pests, coupled with its repulsive odor, it provides an effective, sustainable, and eco-friendly solution to managing insect populations in gardens and farms. This makes it an invaluable tool for gardeners and farmers seeking natural methods to protect their plants without resorting to harsh chemical pesticides.

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What is Neem Oil Effective Against?

Neem oil pesticide stands out as a versatile and environmentally friendly option for gardeners and homeowners alike. In the garden, its efficacy extends to repelling a wide array of pests that are commonly found troubling plants.

These include not only caterpillars, which are known for their voracious leaf-eating habits, but also nematodes – microscopic worms that can damage plant roots. Locusts, a threat to foliage and crops, along with aphids, which sap the life out of plants, are also deterred by neem oil. Japanese beetles, known for their destructive feeding, and mites, which can cause various plant diseases, are similarly affected by neem oil applications.

In household settings, neem oil proves to be a formidable tool against a range of indoor pests. Ants and cockroaches, often unwelcome visitors in kitchens and bathrooms, can be effectively managed with neem oil. It also acts as a deterrent for flies and termites, the latter being particularly notorious for structural damage to homes. Mosquitoes, carriers of various diseases, and bedbugs, known for their itchy bites and rapid infestation capabilities, are also repelled by neem oil, making it a comprehensive solution for common household pests.

A significant advantage of neem oil is its safety profile. Unlike many chemical pesticides, neem oil is generally harmless to mammals, which makes it a safer choice in households with pets. Its benign nature extends to birds, which are often susceptible to the toxic effects of conventional pesticides.

Crucially, neem oil is known to spare beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs. Bees and butterflies, vital pollinators in the ecosystem, and ladybugs, natural predators of harmful insects like aphids, are unaffected by neem oil, ensuring that its use does not disrupt the ecological balance.

Overall, the broad-spectrum effectiveness of neem oil against a variety of pests, combined with its safety for non-target species, makes it an invaluable tool for sustainable pest management in both gardens and homes.

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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 to create a DIY neem oil spray.

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 homemade 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.

So if you’re looking for how 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.

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 Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

16 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Neem Oil Pesticide”

  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. I made it using castile soap for the emulsifier. I used tepid water. However, even when mixed as directed and shaken frequently, all the neem oil stuck to the sides of the spray container.


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