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I have just been made aware of Neem Oil (via a cousin in New Zealand) and, knowing nothing about it, did a bit of research on the Internet.
It seems to be the answer to my prayers as it is claimed that it controls only sucking and chewing pests, preventing them from breeding and deterring them from eating, so eventually they die out. It is also claimed that any pest eggs will not hatch.
I have an intermittent problem with white fly and red spider in my greenhouse. I use a spray diluted from boiled rhubard leaves which is effective against the red spider but it is indiscriminate and can kill all insects, including bees so I confine its use to the greenhouse in the morning before the vents are opened.
Has anyone used Neem Oil as an insecticide and, if so, how effective is it?
I regularly use neem oil as a pest deterrent on aphids etc and in the green house. I'm an organic gardener so don't use chemical pesticides. The way I use it is as a spray. I bought some neem oil shampoo from a supplier in Bath
and I use this diluted. I have found it more effective than the dilute detergent +olive oil I used to use, particularly in the green house.
There are some studies about concerning the toxicity of neem to beneficial insects, such as this one
but even so I try not to use it when flowers are out and bees or butterflies would ingest neem covered pollen or nectar. My main problem with whitefly and spider mite is early in the season when the greebhouse is reliant on artificial watering, and I think the neem oil really does help.
In any case it can do no harm and is not expensive, so do try it.
Thanks for your reply on Neem Oil. I started using it late last year in the greenhouse, principally because of the claim that pest eggs won't hatch. I then thought, was it because the eggs are sprayed or because the egg layers have injested Neem Oil? So I emailed a biochemist in America who sings the praises of Neem Oil in a website. http://www.discoverneem.com/neem-oil-insecticide.html. So far, no reply.
There has been no sign of the red spider yet this year so, hopefully I have got them. As far as the white fly is concerned, I have found the answer.... Stergene! Yes, the detergent! One teaspoon to a litre of water as a spray. It isn't systemic, but it does kill them on contact. I spray once a week, from below, on the fuchsia plants I keep in my greenhouse. They are all different named plants from which I take lots of cuttings to plant out each spring.
I found the Stergene solution on the internet: www.nvsuk.org.uk/growing_show_vegetables_1/cure-for-whitefly.php.
Marvellous thing, the internet!