Neem oil is an organic pest control remedy that is simple and very effective. Neem oil is pressed out of the seeds obtained from neem trees which grow in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Many organic gardeners use it for garden pest control of soft bodied insects like aphids, thrips or whitefly. The oil coats the bugs and they suffocate.
Harmful insects would rather die than eat plants treated with neem oil. It disrupts insects’ hormonal balance so they die before they molt to the next life stage. It also upsets the insects hormonal system and prevents it from developing to its mature stage.
How it works
Neem oil has many complex active ingredients. Rather than being simple poisons, those ingredients are similar to the hormones that insects produce. Insects take up the neem oil ingredients just like natural hormones. Neem enters the system and blocks the real hormones from working properly. Insects “forget” to eat, to mate, or they stop laying eggs. Some forget that they can fly. If eggs are produced they don’t hatch, or the larvae don’t molt. Obviously, insects that are too confused to eat or breed will not survive. The population eventually plummets, and they disappear.
Neem oil makes the plants it touches taste bitter, so pests won’t eat them, as a “contact” insecticide. Insects “forget” to eat after they’ve been in contact with even traces of neem oil.
Doesn’t harm beneficial insects
The greatest benefit of using neem oil is that it doesn’t harm beneficial insects. Butterflies, earthworms, and bees all help plants pollinate or absorb nutrients. The main reason is that insects need to ingest the neem oil to be affected, and beneficial insects don’t eat your plants. Please be aware you can still harm beneficial insects if you smother them with neem oil, so please be careful.
Beneficial insects are most active during the day. The best time to spray neem insecticide is very early in the morning, so the spray can dry before the good insects become active. Once the spray has dried it does not harm your bees, ladybugs, lacewings, predatory mites and wasps etc.
Benefits of neem oil insecticide
– low toxicity, safe for the applicator – low environmental impact – organic and biorational – relatively broad-usage allowed – easy on beneficial insects and mites
The only real downside is that it is not very persistent so may need to be re-applied every few days. Most organic gardeners don’t mind having to put on additional neem oil due to the fact it is unharmful to beneficial insects.
Neem oil kills:
– Garden Snails And Slugs – Aphids, Armyworms – Bean Leaf Beetles, Colorado Potato Beetles, Cucumber Beetles, Japanese Beetles – Moths – Hornworms, Cabbageworms, Melon worms, Tomato fruit worms – Ants – Loopers – Squash Bugs – Fruit Fly – Whiteflies
You can spray vegetables and fruit trees with neem spray right up until the day of harvest. Also, there are no herbs, vegetables or fruit trees that are sensitive to oil sprays.