The Wonder Plant
The neem tree is a tropical evergreen related to mahogany. A native of East India and Myanmar, it grows in much of Southeast Asia and West Africa. It is often referred to as “the village pharmacy” due to its numerous medicinal properties.
In 1959 a plague of locusts attacked every type of tree in the Sudan except for the neem tree. It was observed that insects would land on the Neem tree but they would not feed. It was at this time that researchers began to study the neem tree to find what made it unique. They discovered that the neem tree has a complex chemical makeup, making it resistant to hundreds of different insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Such findings give rise to the possibility of developing non-toxic pest control products derived from neem.
Although neem products are fatal to insects, they don’t have any adverse effects on humans, animals or birds. In fact, numerous medicines are derived from this plant and have been used for hundreds of years to cure all sorts of ailments in India.
Neem has been used for centuries in India for agricultural applications. It is the best natural bio-pesticide and organic fertilizer with pest repellent properties. Neem is comprised of 40 different active compounds called Tetranortriperpernoids (or more specifically liminoids). These liminoids create hormonal disruptions that prevent insects from feeding, breeding and metamorphosing.
The primary ingredient in neem is Azadirachtin. It exhibits anti-feedant, insect repellent and insect sterilization properties. Azadurachtin acts on the hormonal system of the insect, not the digestive or nervous systems, which prevents the development of pest resistance.
How does neem oil affect insects?
- deters feeding
- repels larvae and adults
- stops the molting and metamorphosis processes
- disrupts or inhibits the development of eggs, larvae and pupae
- disrupts mating
- sterilizes adults
- deters females from laying egg
Neem is a natural, 100% organic eco friendly, biodegradable product. It has low toxicity to humans, pets, honey bees and other beneficial insects. It has been shown to effectively control hundreds of insect pests. Its amazing properties will make it a useful tool in fighting some of the trickier pests such as birch leaf miner.
** Neem oil is not currently registered as a pest control product in Canada**
TIPS ON USING NEEM OIL
- Pure Neem Oil will retain its potency much longer if stored at about 40°F in a low light area such as a refrigerator
- A new batch of Neem oil, water and a little soap (according to label) should be mixed each time you are going to spray. Mix only the amount of Neem oil you will use in 4 to 6 hours.
- Do not mix anything with your Neem Oil solution other than the water and soap used to prepare that solution.
- The soap (ecologically friendly dishwashing detergent) is used to help emulsify the soil. If no soap is used the Neem will not mix into solution with the water and spraying will not be effective.
- Spray the entire plant including the top of the potting media. Spray benches, walkways and any surface which an insect might travel.
- A mixture of 1oz to 1 gallon of water should be used for spraying. A weaker solution may be used as a maintenance spray. It is impossible to give a definite schedule for spraying, however a “close eye” will help each person to adjust a timetable to maintain clean plants. You will probably not have to spray often with Neem as with toxic insecticides.
Special feature of Neem oil when used as a foiliar spray
- Reduces requirement of pesticides and insecticides
- Increases plant health
- Enhances the qualities of neem
- Totally Safe for spray operator
- Does not harm helpful parasites, predators, pollinators
- Safe for fish, live stock, poultry and birds
- Being a natural neem based product, it is bio – degradable & eco friendly, harmless and a good friend of the soil