Monday, April 12, 2010

Neemseed Oil Insecticide

Not only is Neem (a tropical Indian tree) extract known in Ayurvedic medicine to treat scabies, hives, eczema, psoriasis and many types of skin rashes, it is also a natural antibacterial and antifungal commonly used to treat athlete’s foot, toe fungi, and ringworm. For the purposes of the organic community garden, an exciting discovery was made in Diana Anthony's book The Ornamental Vegetable Garden; neem oil is the only botanical systemic organic pesticide yet available. It is known for its efficiency in controlling plant-eating and sucking pests such as whitefly, scale, mealybug, thrips and nematodes. It is a benign and environmentally friendly method of controlling pests used by horticulturalists, farmers, home gardeners, and landscapers. The main ingredient in neemseed oil, Azadirachtin, is harmless to beneficial insects and predators. It has been used for centuries in India as a means for preventing insects from eating stores of grain.

Neemseed oil and water, mixed at a ratio of 1:200 and sprayed onto all parts of the affected plants, repels leaf eating bugs by suppressing pests' appetite and influencing their bowel activity. This spray can interrupt the development of eggs, larvae, and pupae, and disrupts the metamorphosis process.
Although the label reads "Worm Compost Tea", this bottle is actually filled with lukewarm water and Neem oil at a ratio of 200:1. When making this organic insecticide at home, it is best to use the entire batch while it is fresh instead of storing it for a long time. The entire surface area of our okra leaves and stems were washed with this spray as an aphid treatment and preventative. We will see how it works!

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