Neem oil is very beneficial. It has several active ingredients that make the oil effective as a pesticide, as an insect repellent, an ingredient for skin care products, and other medicinal uses. The oil is from taken from the pressed seeds of the neem tree, an evergreen that originated from India.
The raw, pure neem oil is quite pungent. Its scent is comparable to garlic and sulphur. It certainly does not smell good but is very effective when used properly. One of its major natural ingredients is Azadirachtin. It is a hormone similar to what the sucking and gnawing insects produce, rendering them incapable to eat, mate and reproduce when the oil gets into their system.
There are commercial pesticides and insecticides with neem oil as one of its ingredients. Some may contain neem oil extracts while some contain 100 percent pure, raw neem oil. You can make your own neem oil insect spray with a few ingredients. Here’s how.
Materials you will need
- Make sure that you get the cold-pressed 100 percent pure neem oil. Neem oil is very susceptible to heat and will immediately lose its efficacy. You can store the oil inside the refrigerator or in a very cool and dark place. Properly stored neem oil will keep for at least two years.
- Get some liquid insecticidal soap available at garden supply stores or pure liquid castile soap as emulsifier, Neem oil will not mix with water. Ordinary household soaps will be harmful to your plants.
- A spray bottle and warm water.
Neem oil will start to break down as soon as you have mixed it therefore it is important to mix only the quantity that you will need for the day. Always make a fresh batch to ensure the efficacy of your homemade neem oil insect spray.
- Mix together one liter of warm water and two teaspoons insecticidal liquid soap in a pail. You can use other soaps that are made from animal fats. You may use pure soap flakes. Ensure that everything is melted and mix together. Always mix the warm water and liquid soap first whenever you make a batch.
- Slowly add the neem oil into the soap and water solution while stirring vigorously to incorporate the oil into the solution. Continue stirring until the ingredients are all mixed thoroughly.
- Fill up your spray bottle and start spraying.
- Double the amount if you have a lot of plants you need to apply the neem oil insect spray to.
Spray the solution on all the leaves of your plants particularly the undersides, which are the favorite hiding places of plant pests. Totally drench the leaves and places where plant pests hide. Use the solution you have just mixed within eight hours before the neem oil completely breaks down. Use the remaining solution to drench the soil around your plants. This will not harm the plants and will actually condition the soil. Check the effect on the aphids and chewing insects after two days. Reapply every two weeks for preventive maintenance. Spray your plants either early in the morning before the other insects beneficial to plants are active. Otherwise spray the solution in the late afternoon or early evening.