We don’t know about you, but when it comes to pest control, we think natural is the way to go.
Chemical insecticides are harmful to the environment as well as to humans and animals, so we like to avoid using them by going with our favorite organic insecticide: neem oil.
Neem oil is the best organic insecticide around, and it can be used to treat a vast array of pests when diluted and sprayed over the leaves.
Neem oil comes in a concentrated form, but it needs to be diluted, so it is important to know how to apply it so it can be the most effective.
In this article, we are going to dive into what neem oil is and how we can use it to keep our gardens pest free. We will also get into what specific pests it can treat so you can target your insect issue directly.
What is Neem Oil?
Let’s start off by exploring precisely what neem oil is.
Neem oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, which is native to India. It is a brownish-yellow color and has a bitter taste and a garlicky, sulfurous smell. The active ingredient responsible for its pest-killing abilities is azadirachtin.
The way neem oil works is that it coats the plant tissue that the pests eat. The insects will then ingest the neem, which will eventually poison them and cause them to starve.
This organic insecticide can be used on anything from commercial crops to ornamental plants. If you use neem oil on your vegetables and herbs, we suggest washing them well before eating.
Luckily, neem oil is perfectly safe for welcome insects like spiders, bees, and butterflies.
Diluting Neem Oil
When you buy neem oil, it will usually come in a concentrated liquid form that must be diluted before using it. However, you can also buy it in granules, wettable powders, and dust form.
We will be outlining how to apply neem oil as a preventative measure as well as a stronger treatment using two different formulas.
Follow these recipes to mix up the appropriate mix:
|Ingredient||Preventative Formula||Treatment Formula|
|Water||1 quart||4 gallons|
|Insecticidal soap||⅓ tsp||5 tsp|
|Neem oil||1 tsp||65 ounces|
The role of the insecticidal soap, besides the obvious, is to help the neem oil blend well with the water.
Now that you have these formulas down, let’s look at how to apply it.
How to Apply Neem Oil
We suggest applying the preventative neem oil mixture on a biweekly basis if you start to see signs of bug problems that could come your way. However, if you have an existing infestation, you will have to go in with the stronger treatment formula.
To treat your garden with neem oil:
- Mix together the insecticidal soap and the water.
- Slowly stir in the neem oil, mixing well to combine.
- Add the mixture to a sprayer and shake well.
- While you are spraying, continue to shake the container regularly to keep the neem oil well-mixed.
- Spray the tops and undersides of the leaves thoroughly.
- Leave to dry and wash your hand well.
Which Insects Can Neem Oil Repel?
So, as you can see, neem oil is a very effective organic way to keep your garden free of pests, but what about the specifics?
Let’s dive into specific common pests and see if neem oil will be effective in fighting against them.
Will neem oil kill hornworms?
Although there are exceptions, neem oil is effective against 1450 kinds of hornworms.
Will neem oil kill aphids?
Yes, neem oil is a very effective treatment for aphids.
Will neem oil kill ants?
Ants can be beneficial to have in your garden, but if you have species that eat your plants, neem oil is very effective.
Will neem oil kill spider mites?
Neem oil works well against spider mites, whether they are outside or indoors.
Will neem oil kill Japanese beetles?
Even though Japanese beetles are very destructive pests, neem oil will work against smaller infestations.
Will neem oil kill mealybugs?
Yes, neem oil will clear up mealy bug infestations very quickly.
Will neem oil kill ladybugs?
Ladybugs are crucial parts of a garden ecosystem, especially because they eat aphids.
Luckily, because ladybugs don’t feed on plant matter, they are safe from the effects of neem oil.
Will neem oil kill squash bugs?
Yes, neem oil is beneficial against squash bugs.
Will neem oil kill cucumber beetles?
Neem oil is best used against cucumber beetles early on because it disrupts feeding and reproduction.
Will neem oil kill springtails?
Neem oil is suitable for dealing with small infestations of springtails.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is neem oil safe for humans?
Neem oil is safe for humans and can be handled without much worry.
However, some may experience allergic reactions such as dermatitis, so be sure to do a spot test before handling it. We also suggest washing the vegetables that you treat with neem oil well before you eat them to get rid of the treatment.
Is neem oil toxic to dogs?
Luckily, unlike inorganic insecticides, neem oil is completely safe for animals.
We highly recommend using neem oil as an insecticide if you have pets because it takes away any stress of poisoning them by accident if they interact with your plants.
Can I put neem oil directly on my face?
While neem oil is safe to use as skin care, it is very potent when in its pure form.
Before applying it to your face, we suggest doing a patch test on your arm to make sure you have no adverse reaction to it. If no reaction occurs, it can be applied in its pure form to small areas and diluted in another neutral oil to larger areas.
The safest way to use neem oil on your skin is to use a cosmetic that has it as a primary ingredient.
Neem oil is a wonderful organic pesticide that you can safely use on your garden with great results without resorting to dangerous chemicals.
It can be applied as a preventative to stop infestations as well as a spot treatment for pre-existing issues. We highly recommend using neem oil because not only is it effective, but also natural and safe for humans and pets.
If you follow this simple guide, you will be able to keep your garden pest free all year round!