You’ve probably heard of neem oil before, especially within the growing community, often said to be the solution to a big range of pest problems it is a very popular option! But what exactly is it?
Neem oil is a natural pesticide made from the seed kernels of a neem tree (Azadirachta Indica). It is brown or yellow in color and has a very distinct smell of sulphur or garlic. The active ingredient of neem oil is Azadirachtin. Used mostly for its pesticidal qualities however you can find it in many other common household items such as toothpaste, cosmetics, soaps and pet shampoos.
How does neem oil work?
Neem oil repels and kills insects in multiple ways. The most effective of which is that it interferes with their hormone system which makes it harder for them to lay eggs and grow which ends life cycles of pests. Neem oil also supresses appetites of pests and this acts as a repellent. These factor combined together make it an effective and popular pesticide and he fact that it is also organic adds to this popularity.
Is neem oil poisonous to humans?
Neem oil isn’t usually dangerous humans however ingestion in large quantities can cause seizures and kidney failure in children and infants. In the form of a pesticide neem oil can also be irritating to eyes and skin if prolonged contact is made, wearing gloves while using neem oil, like any pesticide, is advised.
Is neem oil poisonous to animals?
Similar to its effects on humans, neem oil is relatively safe for most animals as long as it isn’t ingested in large quantities. Neem is however mildly toxic to fish.
Do you need protective equipment to use neem oil?
You don’t need to wear any protective equipment to use neem oil, however using gloves is recommended as some people have bad skin reactions to neem oil. To be super safe, you can also wear protective goggles and even a mask when applying however this really isn’t necessary.
Where to buy neem oil
Neem oil can be found at garden centres and also online. Most people however choose to purchase it online as it can be found cheaper. A product which we’ve used and found great success with can be found on Amazon here.
What pests does neem oil kill?
Neem oil is incredibly effective in killing pests such as:
– Fungus Gnats
Neem oil can also prevent fungal diseases such as black spot, anthracnose, rust, and mildew. Additionally it can help to fight viruses that cause disease in plants.
How do you use neem oil?
Treating plants with neem oil is usually done by applying it as a spray. You will need to mix the product with water in the correct ratio, do this by following the instructions on the bottle. Perform a test spray on your plant 24 hours before applying to the whole plant to make sure there is no adverse reactions. When applying the spray to the whole plant, make sure that you do so in the shade, not in bright light. This is because if applied in direct sunlight it can burn the leaves.
Reapply every week until the pest problem stops. If the problem persists past a month you may need to take more action such as changing the soil or turning to chemical pesticides.
How do you store neem oil?
Concentrated neem oil will usually be packaged in dark glass bottles where as diluted neem oil or pesticidal solutions may come in spray bottles or plastic containers. Regardless of what kind of neem oil you have it is best to keep it stored in a cool, dry place. This will help it remain potent for a longer time. It is also smart to keep it in either a locked cupboard or in one out of reach to children and pets, this is the safest place to keep neem oil.
How long does neem oil last?
Unopened, neem oil should last for at least a year with most products promoting a shelf life of 18 months. Proper storage will help to preserve the potency of neem oil for a longer time.
Once neem oil is mixed into a solution to be used as a pesticide, it is best to use it within 8 hours as that is when it is most effective.
How to make neem oil smell better?
As mentioned above, neem oil smells of sulphur and garlic, some describe it as smelling of farts, which is definitely not a great endorsement for the product but it works so well! So how do we make it smell better? Well, there isn’t really much you can do to make the oil itself smell better but you can take some actions to make the smell go away quicker. Opening windows and doors to increase ventilation is a good start but we’ve found the best way to make the smell go away is to move the plant outside before applying neem oil, you can leave it there for a few hours with the greatest ventilation available. When you move the plant back inside the smell should have almost completely dissipated and you wont have to deal with that yucky smell.
So now that you know all about neem oil you can feel good about using it and finally get rid of those annoying pests!