A naturally occurring pesticide called neem is derived from the neem tree’s seeds (Azadirachta indica). Neem trees are indigenous to the tropical jungles of Sri Lanka, India, and Burma. It has been utilized for many hundreds of years as a natural pesticide within the tree’s native habitat. Neem products are now fairly simple to get at most garden centers because to rising demand for organic and less-toxic pesticide alternatives. It might now be the first bottle many gardeners pick up when they encounter a pest problem. Neem can be a useful component in an integrated pest management strategy, provided you know how it works and only use it as directed on the label.
Products made with neem often contain one of two active components. Neem seed oil contains an ingredient called azadirachtin, which is primarily responsible for both killing and repelling insects. Neem oil is transformed into clarified hydrophobic neem oil once the azadirachtin is removed. Azadiractin, which prevents insects from growing and reproducing, is exclusively found in commercial items. The main component of ready-to-use neem oil sprays that may be purchased at a garden center is clarified hydrophobic neem oil.
You can treat some insect and fungus-related diseases with neem oil. It suffocates insects by covering their bodies in oil, which closes off their breathing holes. Against young insects, it works best. Insects that are fully grown adults are usually not destroyed; they are allowed to feed and procreate. Neem oil application timing hence requires careful monitoring of insect lifecycles.
Do not anticipate quick effects, even when neem is administered to insect larvae. Reapplication may be required to completely control bug populations since it can take some time to take effect. Common pests managed by neem pesticide products include aphids, beetle larvae, caterpillars, lacebugs, leaf hoppers, leafminers, mealy bugs, thrips, and whiteflies. Ensure that you can identify insects with certainty and use neem oil only if the pest is mentioned on the packaging. Both pests and beneficial insects can be harmed by neem.
Neem oil can also be used to treat certain fungi-related problems, like powdery mildew. It functions by stopping fungus spores from growing and penetrating leaf tissue. Neem can help prevent the spread of the disease to healthy tissue, but it won’t “treat” a plant that has already contracted a fungal disease.
Products containing neem oil frequently bear labels for a number of different crops, including herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and decorative plants. Neem oil can harm plants by burning their foliage, regardless of the type of plant being treated. Use with caution on recently transplanted plants or other stressed plants. Neem oil must be applied entirely to plants for the pesticide to work, although it is a good idea to test the substance on a small area first. The entire plant can be treated if there are no harmful signs there.
Disclaimer: This page primarily serves educational reasons when specific brand or trade names are used. The University of New Hampshire neither recommends one product over another with a similar composition nor makes any claims about the effectiveness or caliber of any product. It is the user’s responsibility to only use pesticides in accordance with the label’s instructions and the law. Depending on the registration status in the State of New Hampshire and other variables, the product’s availability may change.
How quickly does neem oil kill bugs?
Neem oil, which is made from the seeds of the neem tree, is a powerful organic insecticide. However, it will cause havoc on the biological and hormonal systems of aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and many other garden pests. It is mostly nontoxic to beneficial pollinators.
Neem oil often doesn’t kill bugs immediately upon contact, which poses a key question: How long does neem oil take to work?
Neem oil normally takes 3–4 days to kill the majority of pests, while 5-7 days are not unheard of, as the oil’s chemical components need time to do their job. Neem oil more readily kills mature, hard-bodied bugs, while larvae and soft-bodied nymphs are less likely to do so.
With neem oil, persistence and patience are crucial. Neem oil can be applied right away to stop the spread of bugs in your garden; after that, you should wait, analyze the situation, and repeat the application as necessary.
Below are some common garden pests that neem oil can eliminate along with directions for preparing a potent DIY neem oil spray that you can use in or around your garden.
Does neem oil rapidly kill insects?
Numerous insects, such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, squash bugs, and whiteflies are deterred by neem oil. These small bugs can do significant harm if left unchecked. Azadirachtin, one of the key ingredients in neem oil, has a negative impact on the hormones that allow for the growth and reproduction of insects. Neem oil can be used to efficiently reduce the insect population by spraying it on the foliage of affected plants. However, neem oil takes time to work, so it’s important to be patient when using it to treat pest-infested plants.
Why does neem oil not appeal to bugs?
Neem oil is made by squeezing the inner kernels of neem seeds ferociously. Neem cake is made from the leftover residue after the oil from the kernels has been recovered. Neem oil is a fantastic organic, all-natural pest control that is secure to use around children, pets, and wildlife as well as in gardens.
Neem oil is non-toxic
Despite some organic gardeners’ reservations, neem oil is a fantastic organic pest control option because it helps reduce pests. Neem oil is utilized in several lotions, shampoos, and even toothpaste because it is neither hazardous to humans nor animals. Actually, neem oil benefits your skin and hair greatly. Due to its scent, neem oil is not typically utilized in high concentrations in these products. It has an aroma that is a cross between sulfur and garlic.
Birds, animals, people, pets, pollinators, and other helpful insects are not at all hazardous to it. To be killed, insects must eat the plant. Neem oil won’t harm helpful insects that manage pests like mantises, spiders, and ladybugs. Neem oil frequently prevents insects from feeding at all. As a result of the hormonal action, leaf-eating and sap-sucking bugs finally stop eating altogether and perish.
How neem oil works
Most insects can be repelled by the fragrance of the oil, so they won’t even approach your garden or plants. Additionally, azadirachtin, the primary active component of neem oil, is present. The feeding of sucking and chewing insects is decreased by azadirachtin. Additionally, it will disrupt the hormone systems of some insects, making it more difficult for them to reproduce and grow.
Neem oil also has other ingredients that kill insects by preventing them from feeding. Neem oil can even be absorbed by plants, at which point it starts to function as a systemic pesticide. Plants become even more pest-resistant as a result.
How to use neem oil
The ideal application method is to create your own spray. Warm water can be used to fill a sizable 24-32 ounce spray bottle. Neem oil and unscented castile soap can then be added in 3 teaspoonfuls each. Early in the morning, late in the day, or late at night, spray this solution on your plants and garden. Applying it during these hours allows the solution to dry and solely affects chewing and sucking pests, while beneficial insects are most active during these hours. It won’t hurt bees, spiders, mantises, lacewings, or other creatures once it dries.
Nothing is removed from our cold-pressed neem oil, which is produced without the use of solvents. Simply cold-pressed, it is then loaded into 55-gallon drums that we purchase directly from India. Neem oil sold in garden centers has been drastically reduced (stuff extracted out of it). Our neem oil is quality, cold-pressed, uncut, and unprocessed.
Are insects poisoned by neem oil?
Young plant growth has been demonstrated to benefit most from the usage of neem oil foliar spray. In soil, the oil has a half-life of 3 to 22 days, whereas in water, it only lasts 45 minutes to 4 days. Studies have revealed no evidence that its use causes cancer or other diseases, and it is almost completely non-toxic to birds, fish, bees, and other species. Neem oil is therefore quite safe to use when applied correctly.
Neem oil insecticide
When used as a soil drench, the pesticide neem oil has a systemic effect on a variety of plants. This indicates that it is disseminated throughout the tissue by absorption by the plant. Insects consume the product when feeding once it has entered the plant’s vascular system. It can stop larvae from developing, diminish or stop mating behavior, and, in certain situations, coat insects’ breathing openings and cause them to die. The compound also causes insects to reduce or stop feeding.
According to product description, it is a helpful mite repellant and is used to handle over 200 additional types of chewing or sucking insects, including:
What led to Canada’s neem oil ban?
Natural tree extract from neem oil is used in a variety of agricultural, cosmetic, and health care goods. There is some misunderstanding about the benefits of neem oil for plants.
Insects respond differently to neem than they do to chemical solutions. It can take up to two weeks to start seeing effects, but in the long run it is much more effective in getting rid of infestations. Neem oil is praised across much of the world, but it is now illegal in Canada because of the dangers associated with improper use. One must know how often to apply neem oil to prevent plants from potential damage. Additionally, it will aid in preventing helpful insects from coming into contact with this organic insecticide.
- How often should pants be treated with neem oil? Neem oil is typically only used to get rid of infestations. However, it can be applied as a preventive every two to three weeks.
Clarified hydrophobic neem oil, a processed variety of organic neem oil pesticide, is used in neem foliar sprays. Concentrations of.5% to 3% occur from the removal of the majority of azadirachtin’s active components from this oil. Neem foliar sprays can be applied topically to treat some fungal infections and illnesses as well as choke insects on contact. For it to fully function, repeated applications must be made every other day for at least 14 days.
To avoid coming into contact with helpful insects like ladybugs or honeybees, one must apply at either night or dawn. Neem oil can be used safely as a foliar spray once every two weeks for preventive after controlling an existing infestation.
- When should neem soil soaks be used? A different story is a soil soak or neem drench. 100% cold-pressed, raw, and pure neem oil is used in the soaks. This neem oil for plants should be applied to the soil so that the plant’s roots may absorb it and transform it into a systemic pesticide. For up to 22 days, azadirachtin will remain active inside the plant. Only piercing or chewing bugs will be impacted. It is now much safer to apply it on plants close to beehives. Because azadirachtin has a lengthy shelf life, it requires additional soil soaking every 21 days to maintain potency. Most infestations are eliminated by azadirachtin without hurting pollinators, helpful animals like earthworms, or predatory species.
Infections caused by bacteria and fungi, such as some types of root rot, will also be helped by this.
- when not to apply neem oil. When not to apply neem oil on a plant is a topic that isn’t covered sufficiently.
It is generally accepted that one shouldn’t apply neem to an edible plant the day of harvest, despite the fact that it is non-toxic and frequently used in items like toothpaste. The day before harvest, as a foliar spray, or as a soak in the soil, it can be applied. By forgoing an application on the actual harvest day, one will consume less.
Nelson is the Garfield County agricultural educator with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Is it possible to overuse neem oil?
Neem oil is a favorite of mine to use as a fungal and insecticide on my plants. However, you must be cautious about when and how you apply it to your plants.
Neem oil can be used to plants in excess if it is applied frequently throughout the week. If you don’t dilute the neem oil before using it, you might also use too much. Neem oil can burn plants, possibly turn them yellow, and even kill helpful insects if used excessively.
I’ve written about how to determine how much neem oil is too much to use and how much is truly necessary.
Neem oil: Is it harmful to human skin?
Neem oil is incredibly strong but safe. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition like eczema, it could have negative effects on you.
If you’ve never used neem oil before, start by dabbing a small amount of it on a spot of skin far from your face. You may want to further dilute the oil or stop using it altogether if redness or irritation appear.
An allergic reaction could be indicated by hives, a severe rash, or trouble breathing. Neem oil usage should be stopped right away, and if your ailments worsen, you should see a doctor.
Children should not use neem oil due to its strength. Consult your doctor before applying neem oil to a child.
Neem oil should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing because there have been no studies done to determine whether it is safe to do so.
Neem oil: Is it harmful to people?
Neem oil consumption has the potential to be toxic and in young children and newborns can result in metabolic acidosis, convulsions, kidney failure, encephalopathy, and serious brain ischemia.
 Neem oil shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone treatment without consulting a physician, especially if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or have young children.  Additionally, it may be connected to allergic contact dermatitis. 
What kinds of insects can neem oil kill?
What Pests Does Neem Oil Get Rid Of?
- Insects and neem (including hibiscus aphids, root aphids, and rose aphids)
- a bed bug
- Caterpillars with black heads.