Although our winter was insanely cold, we didn’t have a very hard freeze when it finally started to warm up here. Thus the bugs are out in force because they didn’t get killed off by the cold wave. I’ve often read about using neem oil on plants to combat aphids, scales, spider mites, white flies, locusts and other common pests. It’s also used as a fungicide and helps against powdery mildew. Neem oil insecticide can be used on vegetables, spices and herbs, fruit trees, berries, stone fruits and tropical fruits. Orchid growers also are known to love it. Bugs hate the taste and smell of the oil so the head over to your neighbor’s plants instead of yours.
Neem oil is extracted from the nut of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It originally was grown in India and the oil and other parts of the tree have been used for centuries for medical purposes such as treating psoriasis and eczema, boosting the immune system, cleansing blood, restoring health to skin, hair and nails, and much more.
There are organic pesticide products using a 3-4.5% concentration of neem oil on the market (the active component of neem oil is a chemical called azadirachtin) but it’s not hard to make it yourself. Our biggest hurdle was finally just ordering the oil.
If you make your own neem oil pesticide, combine the ingredients fresh right before you use it because the neem oil will start to break down after a few days. And you will have to respray everything every few days and after it rains to keep unwanted pests from devouring your plants. But it is one of the only insecticides you can feel comfortable spraying on your fruits and vegetables until the day you harvest them that is certain not to harm you.
More on the wonders of neem oil will be coming soon as we start using it on Ayla to combat the ticks!
Neem Oil Pesticide and Fungicide Recipe
- 1 oz. neem oil
- 1 gallon water
- 1-2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing soap
Mix ingredients in a garden sprayer and shake to mix. Spray on trees and plants every few days as needed.