Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is used to kill a variety of garden pests in your home. It does not harm honeybees and other pollinators but slowly kills off other insects like aphids, spider mites, and others. However, since it is a natural substitute for stronger insecticides, it does not kill off the bugs instantly. You need to follow a particular strategy to effectively eliminate bugs and pests around your plants.
A neem oil solution takes three to four days to kill most insects but can take up to a week to affect others. The active ingredient in neem oil takes a while to do its work. Hard-bodied bugs are more resistant to its effect compared to larvae and other insects. If you’re trying to use neem oil effectively, have patience and persist in your endeavors.
Let’s explore more details about neem oil’s efficiency in killing bugs.
Which Bugs Are Most Susceptible to the Effects of Neem Oil?
Neem oil works its magic on over 200 kinds of garden bugs, but some are more tolerant to its effects than others. Since it is not an instant killer, it takes some time for its effects to kick in, which impacts the bugs’ biological systems and affects their feeding and reproduction habits. The most potent active compound that acts as a natural insecticide is called azadirachtin, affecting a variety of garden bugs in detrimental ways.
However, some bugs are affected by azadiracthin in different ways, i.e., they can experience disruptions in their feeding patterns, hormonal changes, reproduction issues, and growth inhibitions. Neem oil takes longer to affect hard-bodied insects and may need to be reapplied onto plant foliage for up to four weeks before it is effective against adult aphids and spider mites. When used on larvae and nymphs, it produced faster results.
You can easily find a chart online that shows you how effective neem oil solutions are against different garden bugs and pests. Its toxicity levels are fairly low for humans, making it safe to use on fruit and vegetable plants as well. Despite this, it can still take several days before neem oil successfully kills all bugs infesting a plant since it is a slow-acting natural insecticide.
How to Create a Strong Neem Oil Solution to Kill All Bugs in Your Garden
If you’re wondering how long it takes to kill bugs and pests in your garden by using neem oil, the answer is that it depends on your solution’s potency. When creating a strong neem oil solution to spray your garden plants, it helps to use the right ingredients at the correct ratios.
You can choose to buy a ready-made spray solution, but it is cheaper to make your own at home. If you make your neem oil solution at home, it will be more potent than the store-bought variety and produce quicker results.
The four main ingredients you’ll need to make a potent neem oil solution are water, liquid soap, neem oil concentrate, and a garden sprayer. When creating a one-gallon solution for spraying your garden plants, add one tablespoon of liquid soap and two tablespoons of neem oil to a gallon of water in your garden sprayer. After mixing these ingredients thoroughly, you will have a potent neem oil solution to kill all pesky bugs infesting your plants.
How Frequently Should Neem Oil be Used to Kill Bugs?
When dealing with extreme infestations, you will need to reapply neem oil multiple times over several weeks. This is because you’ve made the decision to choose a natural substitute for lethal insecticides that takes longer to produce the desired effects. However, people are willing to make this sacrifice because it makes their harvest safer and free from harmful chemicals, which can affect your fruits and vegetables’ taste.
As a general rule of thumb, you should apply neem oil once a week when dealing with minor to moderate bug infestations. Applying a neem oil solution for three weeks, i.e., three times in 21 days, will destroy less severe infestations.
Some bugs are deadlier than others, such as flea beetles and spider mites, which need at least four weeks of neem oil treatment every four days; this strategy may seem aggressive. However, if you’ve ever encountered spider mites, you will know that they can bounce back pretty fast. Being consistent with your neem oil application will bring positive results.
Does Neem Oil Produce Immediate Bug-Killing Results?
Many organic farmers would consider neem oil a miraculous solution to their gardening problems if it produced immediate bug-killing results. It is true that it does kill some bugs fairly quickly, but others can survive between three to seven days after exposure to neem oil and even lay eggs before they die. If the neem oil makes contact with larvae, eggs, and nymphs, many will die immediately. However, others will likely slow down and experience detrimental biological and hormonal effects over several days before they die.
For this reason, neem oil needs to be applied frequently, and you need to keep a keen and watchful eye on bug-related activities. Adult bugs can survive up to a week before the neem oil kills them off, which means they have enough time to reproduce. Hence, you will experience the best results from three to four weeks of consistent treatment every four to seven days.
Neem oil is an effective preventive treatment for garden bugs and targets over two hundred varieties. However, it takes a while for the natural insecticide to work its magic and kill adult bugs, which are known to create the most problems.
Spider mites can survive for seven days after exposure to neem oil, giving them enough time to reproduce before they die and contribute to an infestation. For this reason, neem oil treatment plans must be carried out for four weeks to ensure all infestations are eliminated promptly.