More of us want to garden naturally and some of us even aim to garden completely organically. But, if you're proud of your garden or indeed hoping to feed yourself from your vegetable plot there are times when you must do battle with those insect pests. After all, no matter how natural we like things, a garden is usually for us not the local pest population. One great safe garden insecticide, neem may be just what you need if you're hoping to avoid letting insects devour your surroundings.
What is Neem Insecticide?
Well, neem is a natural oil produced, oddly enough by the neem tree, a native to the Indian sub-continent. Neem oil has been used for generations by the local population. It is used to deal with skin problems, to fight fungal infections and as an insect repellent as well as being included in many skin and hair cosmetic formulations.
The neem you use as an insecticide is just pure neem oil. There is nothing else added or taken away, you simply get natural, organic neem oil extracted from the neem tree. Of course you can by prepared safe garden insecticide formulations which include some neem oil, along with other natural forms of pest control such as insecticide soap. Or you can just buy 100% pure neem oil and make up a batch yourself. When you see how little neem oil is needed to create an effective insecticide you'll see this is probably the most economical approach.
Homemade Insecticide - Neem Soap Spray
To make up a batch of neem insecticide, simply mix a gallon of water with 4 teaspoons of pure neem oil and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap, mild dish-washing detergent or bought insecticidal soap. With a quart of pure neem oil available for under $40 you can see this is one cheap safe garden insecticide.
Insecticidal Neem - Long Term Pest Control
Neem doesn't obliterate insects overnight. This is a safer, longer term approach to pest control. Neem oil affects insects in several ways. The most widely studied compound within neem is Azadirachtin. This works against pests in two ways; as an anti-feedant and as a growth inhibitor. Insects are deterred from feeding which obviously will slow them down. In addition insects are affected so they are unable to molt and reach sexual maturity. This means they cannot reproduce and repopulate your garden with more offspring.
Although you will not see a drastic fall in the insect population overnight, you will see quickly that your plants are less attractive to the pests. Then, within two to three lifecycles of the insects the population will drop dramatically as breeding stops in your garden.
Safe Insecticide - Neem Oil
Because neem is completely biodegradable it makes an extremely safe insecticide. Neem is detrimental to insects but harmless for warm-blooded mammals, fish, birds and beneficial insects such as ladybugs and honey bees. It only affects those insects who consume it by feeding on sprayed garden plants.