Are you struggling to keep pesky insects away from your plants? Have you tried using neem oil as an insecticide, but found it to be less effective than you hoped?
Well, we may have a solution for you. Some gardeners have reported success in combining neem oil with Murphy’s Oil Soap to create a powerful insecticide that not only repels bugs, but also kills them on contact.
But is this combination really effective? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using Murphy’s Oil Soap with neem oil as an insecticide, and help you decide if it’s the right solution for your garden.
So, let’s dive in!
Will Murphy’s Oil Soap Help Neem Oil As Insecticide?
Murphy’s Oil Soap is a popular household cleaning product that is known for its ability to clean and polish wood surfaces. However, some gardeners have discovered that it can also be used as an effective insecticide when combined with neem oil.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is derived from the seeds of the neem tree. It works by disrupting the life cycle of insects, preventing them from feeding and reproducing. Neem oil is effective against a wide range of pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.
When combined with Murphy’s Oil Soap, neem oil becomes even more potent. The soap acts as a surfactant, helping the neem oil to spread evenly over the surface of the plant and stick to the insects. This makes it more effective at killing pests on contact.
However, it’s important to note that using too much Murphy’s Oil Soap can damage plant leaves. It’s also not effective against all types of garden pests. Additionally, Murphy’s Oil Soap can be difficult to find in stores.
Understanding Neem Oil As An Insecticide
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide that is derived from the seeds of the neem tree. It has been used for centuries as a botanical insecticide in tropical forests in Burma, India, and Sri Lanka. With the growing interest in organic and less-toxic pesticide options, neem products have become widely available at most garden centers.
Neem oil works by disrupting the life cycle of insects, preventing them from feeding and reproducing. The active ingredient in neem oil is Azadirachtin, which is responsible for killing and repelling insects. After Azadirachtin is extracted from neem oil, the remaining material is called clarified hydrophobic neem oil. This is the active ingredient in ready-to-use neem oil sprays that can be picked up at a garden center.
Neem oil is most effective against immature insects, as it kills them by suffocation, covering their bodies with oil that blocks their breathing openings. Mature adult insects are not typically killed and may continue to feed and reproduce. Therefore, close monitoring of pest lifecycles is necessary for timing a neem oil application.
Aphids, beetle larvae, caterpillars, lacebugs, leaf hoppers, leafminers, mealy bugs, thrips, and whiteflies are commonly listed as pests controlled by neem pesticide products. However, it’s important to accurately identify the insect or fungal disease you’re battling before applying any pesticide. Neem can harm beneficial insects as well as pests.
Neem oil can also be used to manage some fungal disease issues such as powdery mildew. It works by preventing the germination and penetration of fungal spores into leaf tissue. Neem won’t “cure” a plant that is already infected with a fungal disease, but it can help limit the spread of the disease to healthy tissue.
When applying neem oil, cover all parts of the plant and make sure to spray the undersides of leaves where pests can hide and lay eggs. Unlike many pesticides that continue working after application, neem oil has no effect after it dries. It’s actually biodegradable, breaking down quickly into harmless components.
What Is Murphy’s Oil Soap?
Murphy’s Oil Soap is a cleaning product that was first introduced in the early 1900s by Jeremiah Murphy, director of the Phoenix Oil Company. The soap is made with a potassium vegetable oil base and contains no phosphates, making it a popular choice for cleaning wood surfaces. It is available in both concentrated liquid form and pre-diluted form in a trigger spray bottle. The product is specially formulated with water, coconut and plant-derived cleaning ingredients, natural fragrance, and 2% synthetic ingredients. It does not contain ammonia or bleach and is biodegradable and phosphate-free. While it is a popular household cleaning product, it has also been found to be effective as an insecticide when combined with neem oil. However, caution should be taken when using it on plants, as using too much can cause damage to leaves.
The Benefits Of Combining Neem Oil And Murphy’s Oil Soap
Combining neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap has several benefits when used as an insecticide in your garden.
Firstly, the soap acts as a surfactant, helping the neem oil to spread evenly over the surface of the plant and stick to the insects. This makes it more effective at killing pests on contact. The combination of neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap is particularly useful for controlling soft-bodied insects like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.
Secondly, the combination of neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap is a natural alternative to chemical insecticides. This means that you can protect your plants from pests without exposing them to harmful chemicals.
Thirdly, using Murphy’s Oil Soap with neem oil is easy and cost-effective. You can easily make your own insecticidal spray by mixing neem oil, Murphy’s Oil Soap, and water in a spray bottle. This allows you to treat your plants regularly without breaking the bank.
Lastly, using this combination of neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap is safe for beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. This means that you can protect your plants from pests without harming the natural ecosystem of your garden.
How To Mix Neem Oil And Murphy’s Oil Soap
Mixing neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap is a simple process that can be done using a 1 quart spritzer bottle. Begin by adding 1 pint of very hot water to the bottle, followed by 1 teaspoon of neem oil. It’s important to use cold-pressed or virgin neem oil, as these types of oil are more effective than other varieties.
Next, add 2-4 drops of Murphy’s Oil Soap to the mixture and shake well. It’s important to ensure that the soap is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Once this is done, add 1 pint of 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to the bottle.
It’s important to shake the mixture frequently while spritzing it onto plants. Be sure to cover the entire plant, but avoid spraying in full sun. While a little more Murphy’s Oil Soap is okay, it’s not necessary if using isopropyl alcohol.
It’s recommended to repeat this process at 1-2 week intervals as needed. This will help to ensure that garden pests are effectively controlled without causing damage to the plant. Overall, combining neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap can be an effective way to naturally control garden pests and keep plants healthy.
Application And Effectiveness Of The Mixture
To make the neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap mixture, start by filling a gallon-size spray container with water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent and 1 teaspoon of neem oil. Then, add 1 tablespoon of Murphy’s Oil Soap to the mixture and shake the container thoroughly before use.
The mixture should be applied directly to the affected areas of the plant, focusing on the undersides of leaves where pests tend to congregate. The neem oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap mixture will suffocate insects and prevent them from feeding and reproducing. It’s important to note that the mixture should be used within 8 hours of mixing, as its effectiveness will break down over time.
Precautions And Safety Measures
While using Murphy’s Oil Soap and neem oil as an insecticide can be an effective solution for controlling garden pests, there are some precautions and safety measures that should be taken into consideration.
Firstly, it’s important to use the correct amount of Murphy’s Oil Soap. Using too much can damage plant leaves and cause harm to the plant. It’s recommended to follow the instructions on the label and not to exceed the recommended amount.
Secondly, it’s important to be aware that Murphy’s Oil Soap is not effective against all types of garden pests. It may not work on larger insects or pests that burrow into the soil.
Additionally, it’s important to use caution when handling neem oil. While neem oil is non-toxic to birds, mammals, bees, and plants, it is slightly toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. It’s important to avoid using neem oil near bodies of water or in areas where it could potentially harm aquatic life.
Lastly, it’s important to store both Murphy’s Oil Soap and neem oil properly. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children and pets.
By following these precautions and safety measures, gardeners can effectively use Murphy’s Oil Soap and neem oil as an insecticide without causing harm to their plants or the environment.