Does Neem Oil Insecticide Work

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The use of neem oil insecticide is very popular in certain parts of the world, particularly the Indian subcontinent, where neem is such a cultural staple.

Is Neem Oil Effective Against Insects?

Neem oil is highly effective against insects, but unlike many other insecticides and pesticides, the effects are not immediate. Neem is a highly valued plant in many cultures around the world and is not known for its toxicity in humans. This leads to many people doubting the efficacy of this oil against insects. That being said, the effects of this oil on insects is quite unique; the impact that it can have on hormones will disrupt normal pathways in their brains. This may result in their inability to eat, mate or perform other basic processes necessary for survival. Therefore, extended exposure to this oil will gradually decrease your insect infestation, without damaging the crops, other animals, children or end-consumers of crops and products. Additionally, neem oil has a powerful scent that many insects find unappealing, causing them to avoid the areas with that scent.

This delayed effect of neem oil is particularly good for eliminating sucking and chewing insects, which are common pests for agriculture. Many farmers dismiss the efficacy of this oil, but with a bit of patience, you can enjoy a side effects-free method of cutting down on your insect problem.

How to Make Neem Oil Insecticide?

If you want to use neem oil as a natural insecticide, you will want to make a large-volume, low-concentration mixture for best effects.

    Neem oil in a bottle in a white ceramic plate with mortar and pestle and some neem leaves

    DIY Neem Oil Insecticide Recipe

    This organic neem insecticide is safe to use and very effective. Unlike chemical-based insecticides, it does not harm the crops. 
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    Course: DIY
    Keyword: Neem Oil Insecticide
    Appliance: Spray Bottle
    Servings: 1 Bottle
    Author: Paromita Datta

    Ingredients

    • 50 ml organic neem oil 100% pure
    • 20 ml liquid dish soap

    Instructions

    • Purchase 100% pure neem oil from a natural health store or online. Choose organic neem oil to prevent any contamination or risk to your soil/crops.
    • Mix the neem oil with the liquid dish soap in a large jug/bottle.
    • Shake the combination thoroughly and pour it into a spray bottle.
    • Spray the neem oil mixture to any areas where insects have done damage or can be regularly found.
      Branches of neem plant with a bottle containing yellow liquid

    Notes

    You will want to use this neem oil insecticide within 8 hours of preparation, as the constituents will begin to interact and break down, making it less effective. If you don't need this much insecticide, you can adjust the volume while keeping these proportions in mind. 
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    About the Author

    John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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