Are you tired of being constantly bothered by pesky no see ums?
These tiny insects can be a major annoyance, leaving itchy bites all over your skin. While there are many insect repellents on the market, some people prefer to use natural remedies to keep these bugs at bay.
One such remedy is neem oil, which has been used for centuries in Southern Asia and India for its pesticidal and anti-fungal properties. But does neem oil actually repel no see ums?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind neem oil and its effectiveness as a natural insect repellent. Say goodbye to those annoying bites and hello to a bug-free summer!
Does Neem Oil Repel No See Ums?
Neem oil has been proven to be one of the best natural bug repellents out there. It is highly effective when used on its own or in commercially-sold pesticides. Derived from the Azadirachta Indica tree, neem oil has both pesticidal and anti-fungal properties that make it effective at removing over 200 species of leaf-chewing garden pests such as mites, aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies, while preventing common garden fungi such as root rot, black spot, mildew, and more.
But what about no see ums? These tiny insects can be a major annoyance, leaving itchy bites all over your skin. While there are many insect repellents on the market, some people prefer to use natural remedies to keep these bugs at bay.
Neem oil has been found to be effective in repelling no see ums. It works by making the skin unpalatable to insects, thus preventing them from biting. Essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, mint and camphor are also known for repelling no see ums. You can make your own essential oil spray by mixing several drops in a spray bottle with water, or you can purchase a natural insect repellent spray made with a mix of essential oils.
What Are No See Ums And Why Are They A Problem?
No see ums, also known as biting midges, sandflies, punkies, and sand gnats, are small flies that measure between one and three millimeters in length. These pesky insects are notorious for feeding on the blood of humans and animals, leaving behind itchy and uncomfortable bite marks on the skin. Unlike mosquitoes, no see ums are incredibly difficult to spot due to their small size, making them a frustratingly elusive pest.
No see um bites can be more severe than mosquito bites, appearing as small clusters of red dots on the skin that can expand over time into large, raised welts that can last up to two weeks. These bites can be particularly problematic for those who are allergic to insect bites or have sensitive skin.
Controlling no see ums can be challenging because they lay their eggs in moist substrates, which can be found in a wide range of areas. Currently, the most effective method of control is using carbon dioxide-baited traps to attract and eliminate these host-seeking pests.
No see ums are most active during the early mornings and evenings of mid to late summer and are commonly found near standing water or in wet sand and other humid environments. Infestations usually occur outdoors but can occasionally be found indoors in areas with leaks or standing water.
What Is Neem Oil And How Does It Work?
Neem oil is a natural pesticide that has been used for centuries in India. It is derived from the seeds of the neem tree and contains an active ingredient called Azadirachtin. This ingredient has been found to repel and kill bugs by reducing their ability to eat, reproduce, and grow.
Neem oil works by interfering with insect hormone systems, which makes it harder for insects to lay eggs and grow. It also acts as a repellent, making the skin unpalatable to insects like no see ums. Additionally, neem oil can disrupt insect growth and feeding patterns, making it most effective when used on young insects.
While neem oil is highly effective against many types of insects, it does not work immediately. It takes time for the neem oil to affect the insects’ endocrine system, so do not expect instant results. Frequent application is recommended, as neem oil only lasts a few days in the environment. It is also important to spray both sides of the leaves and stir mixtures frequently to maintain strength.
One of the benefits of using neem oil as a natural pest control solution is that it is non-toxic to people and animals. It is even used in certain lotions, shampoos, and toothpaste because of its beneficial properties for skin and hair. Neem oil is also safe for beneficial insects like mantises, spiders, and ladybugs, as they do not consume the plant or affected insects.
Studies On Neem Oil And Its Effectiveness On Insects
Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of neem oil on different mosquito species. One such study found that a mixture of 2% neem oil and coconut oil provided 96-100% protection from anophelines, 85% from Aedes, and 37.5% from Armigeres. It also showed a wide range of efficacy from 61-94% against Culex spp. This study concluded that neem oil can be applied as a personal protection measure against mosquito bites.
Another study found that neem oil contains Azadirachtin, which is the active agent that repels and kills bugs. It reduces insect feeding, acts as a repellent, and interferes with insect hormone systems, making it harder for insects to grow and lay eggs. Azadirachtin can also repel and reduce the feeding of nematodes. Other components of neem oil kill insects by hindering their ability to feed. However, the exact role of every component is not known.
Neem oil has been found to be a great organic pest control solution because it helps control pests without being toxic to people or animals. It is even used in certain lotions, shampoos, and toothpaste because it is good for the skin and hair. Neem oil repels insects from eating at all, and because of its hormonal effect, leaf eating and sucking bugs won’t even eat anything and will eventually die.
A study conducted in Ethiopia evaluated the effectiveness of different repellents against An. arabiensis, a common mosquito species that transmits malaria. The study found that both DEET and MyggA provided the highest comparable protection against An. arabiensis, while neem and chinaberry oil provided the lowest protection. However, another study in India found that 2% neem oil diluted with 1-4% coconut oil gave between 80% and 100% protection for four times longer than reported in the Ethiopian study.
How To Use Neem Oil To Repel No See Ums
Using neem oil to repel no see ums is easy and effective. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Mix neem oil with coconut oil or unscented castile soap. A mixture of 2 percent neem oil and coconut oil provided 96 to 100 percent protection from one type of mosquito, 85 percent from another and 37.5 percent from another, according to a National Center for Biotechnology Information study.
2. Apply the neem oil mixture on your skin before going outdoors. This will make your skin unpalatable to no see ums, thus preventing them from biting.
3. You can also use neem oil to protect your home and yard from no see ums. Fill a large 24-32 ounce spray bottle with warm water, then add 3 teaspoons of neem oil, and 1 teaspoon of unscented castile soap. Spray this solution on your plants and garden in the early morning or later afternoon or evening when beneficial insects are less active.
4. Once it dries, the neem oil solution won’t harm bees, spiders, mantises, lacewings, and other beneficial insects.
By using neem oil as a natural insect repellent, you can protect yourself and your home from no see ums without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
Other Natural Remedies For Repelling No See Ums
Aside from neem oil and essential oils, there are other natural remedies that can be used to repel no see ums. One such remedy is coconut oil. While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, some people have reported success in using coconut oil to keep these pests away. PAM makes a spray coconut oil that can be used in the backyard to repel no see ums.
Thieves oil is another essential oil that has been reported to repel no see ums. This blend of essential oils contains cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary oils. When applied to the skin, it can help to repel these tiny insects and relieve any itching caused by their bites.
If you prefer to make your own natural insect repellent, you can do so by mixing essential oils with carrier oils or alcohol. The mixture should be 5 to 10% essential oil(s) and the rest the “carrier” oil or alcohol. For no-see-ums, which are notoriously hard to discourage, use the smallest amount of carrier oil or alcohol. Carrier oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil or any other cooking oil can be used, as well as witch hazel or vodka.
To make the repellent, simply pour the essential oil and the carrier into a dark bottle, cap it and shake to mix. If you prefer a “gel” consistency, you can mix in some aloe vera gel — but be aware that you’re cutting the concentration of the essential oil. Apply about once an hour or more often if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.
In addition to these natural remedies, replacing or making a no-see-um screen can also help keep these pests at bay. Bridal veil material can be used as an alternative to traditional screen material and can be found in most moderate-sized towns. By using a combination of these natural remedies, you can protect yourself from no see ums without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
Precautions When Using Neem Oil As An Insect Repellent
While neem oil is a safe and effective natural insect repellent, there are still some precautions that you should take when using it.
Firstly, neem oil should not be ingested or applied to the eyes. It is also important to avoid using neem oil on children under the age of three, as their skin may be more sensitive to it.
When using neem oil as an insect repellent, it is important to mix it with an emulsifying agent like mild dish detergent in order for it to effectively mix with water. This will ensure that the neem oil is evenly distributed and will not cause harm to beneficial insects.
Additionally, while neem oil is non-toxic to birds and other wildlife, it is still important to avoid spraying it directly on them. It is also recommended that you avoid spraying neem oil on windy days, as this can cause the spray to drift and potentially harm unintended targets.
Finally, it is important to note that neem oil may have a strong odor that some people find unpleasant. If you are sensitive to smells, you may want to test a small area of your skin before applying it more widely.
By following these precautions, you can safely and effectively use neem oil as a natural insect repellent for no see ums and other garden pests.