PEST CONTROL WITH NEEM OIL
Whenever residents of Winston-Salem have problems with pest infestation in their gardens, their initial reaction is to purchase ready-made chemical pesticides from the grocery shelves. Chemical pesticides work well to kill pests, but it has been discovered lately that their chemicals also have very harmful effects. Chemicals also kill beneficial insects, which probably explains why we keep seeing less and less of them for the past several years. Chemicals can also be very harmful to pets. Dogs and cats who manage to stray into your garden could ingest these poisons and could lead to illness and even death. Chemicals can also cause adverse health effects in humans, both short term and long term. Infants and children are more at risk with the toxic effects of pesticides than adults.
People of Winston-Salem, therefore, have thought it wise to look for safer alternatives to chemical pesticides. Inasmuch as they want to eliminate pests in their garden, they also understand that protecting their family, pets, and the environment should also be prioritized. The answer then is to ditch chemical pesticides in favor of pesticides made of natural ingredients.
A favorite natural pesticide among household owners is neem oil pesticide. It is safe, does not leave any residue on the soil and plants that are unsafe for pets and beneficial insects, yet is effective in killing pests.
Why is pest control important?
Pest control does not necessarily mean you have to call the professionals to get rid of pests. Even you, as the homeowner, can do it by yourself. It also does not mean that you have to wait for these pests to actually show up. Prevention is also part of pest-proofing your home.
All pests are a nuisance to have once they are inside your home. They disturb homeowners by affecting their daily activities. Aside from that, they transmit several nasty diseases, a lot of these are life-threatening. Other pests can make asthma much worse.
Simply put, pests should have no space in your house. Some people can tolerate the presence of these pests and some cannot. But with the dangers, these pests pose, cohabitating should be out of the question. This is why pest control is such an important activity.
What is neem oil?
Neem oil is a kind of oil that is pressed out of neem seeds. Among its many uses are for medicinal purposes, beauty products, and pesticides. It is used as an organic pesticide spray, for soaps, toothpaste, and pet shampoos. It comes in yellow to brown in color, and when tasted it is quite bitter. It has a garlicky smell.
Neem oil is a combination of many ingredients, with the most active being Azadirachtin. Azadirachtin is the active ingredient that repels and kills pests. Other components also kill pests by making it difficult for them to feed.
While this type of oil is extracted from the other parts of a neem tree, it is in the neem seeds that most of the azadirachtin is extracted. It is being used in more than 100 kinds of pesticides and applied to many types of plants and crops to control insects. Neem oil comes in many forms: powdered, granulated, emulsifiable concentrates, and dust. Truly, the neem oil is a gardener’s best friend.
How does it work?
Neem oil disturbs the hormonal balance of insects, causing them to die. To use, mix 2 tablespoons of neem oil for every one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, then spray on all plant surfaces. Do not forget to spray the undersides of the leaves until all plants are completely wet. But before you do this, try to test it on a few plants first. Wait for 24 hours and see if there would be damage to the leaves. Neem oil can be harmful to some plants and could die when it is sprayed with the oil. It is best to apply neem oil in the evening or under indirect sunlight. This would avoid the burning of its foliage and allow the treatment of the plants.
Neem oil can be used either to prevent pests, or to control pests that are already present. As prevention, apply neem oil on a seven to fourteen-day schedule. To kill pests that are already present in your garden. You can use a seven-day schedule.
One cause for concern though is using neem oil in extreme temperatures, be it too hot or too cold. Do not apply to plants that are overwatered or too dry.
Is it safe to use?
Just like when using any other pesticide, read the label first when using neem oil. This product is safe to use as long as it is used properly. Ingesting neem oil is harmful. However, since neem oil is also applied to crops, we are exposed to it one way or the other. People who apply neem oil may also be exposed by inhaling the dust or mist, or by skin contact, or by failing to wash their hands before eating. Wearing protective clothing while using neem oil will help reduce exposure to it.
Signs of exposure to neem oil
Neem oil, due to its active ingredient Azadirachtin, can be very irritating to the eyes, skin, and stomach. The rest of the components of neem oil is made of essential oils, fatty acids, and other substances that are safe to eat, as per the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Cats are especially at risk for the harmful effects of neem oil. It has been reported that cats have adverse reactions to neem oil, like trembling, excessive salivation, sluggishness, twitching, convulsion, and even death.
If you remove the ingredient Azadirachtin, neem oil becomes hydrophobic neem oil. In this form, neem oil is safe to be ingested and is actually found in the food we eat.
How can neem oil help in controlling pests?
Neem oil is good for getting rid of a huge variety of garden pests. If you have these pests, then you can surely use this oil.
- Mites – These are tiny sucking insects that can damage trees, ornamentals, herbs, and edibles. Signs that you have mites in your garden include curled yellow leaves, small webs, and sickly plants. Mites are actually close relatives of spiders, though spiders are not pests. Mites have 8 legs and two segments in their bodies. They attack both indoor and garden plants but are easier to spot in houseplants. Mites can do more damage indoors because they are not affected by weather changes. Outdoor mites will overwinter as eggs or adults on stems, barks of trees, and leaves. They cause damage by sapping the plants of their vigor and even transmitting diseases. They have piercing mouth parts that pierce plant cells and feed on the moisture coming from it.
- Aphids – Aphids look like miniature pears. They are just ⅛ inch long with very long antennae and spiked tubes protruding from their back. They have soft bodies and may come in green, yellow, brown, red, or black colors. Aphids do not have wings, but some of them may grow wings if their population becomes too high. They feed on a wide variety of plants. Aphids are known for sucking the juices from the plants with the use of their piercing mouthparts. This is why the infestation of aphids results in yellow and distorted leaves, curling, or wilting, stunted growth, and decreased vigor. Several aphid species can also transmit diseases to plants. Aphids also secrete a substance called honeydew, which attracts several other insects.
- Whiteflies – Whiteflies are one of the most troublesome garden pests there is. These are insects that suck the sap out of plants. Doing this weakens the plants and they would not be able to perform photosynthesis. The leaves of the plants would just wilt, and the plants would die. Whiteflies are just about 1/12 of an inch long. They have soft bodies with wings and are active during the day. They are found under the leaves of plants in clusters.
- Mealybugs – Mealybugs are small, oval-shaped insects with flat bodies. These insects also look powdery and fuzzy. They have sucking mouthparts that harm plants and they also leave unsightly white marks on their leaves. Mealybugs also secrete honeydew, which attracts other insects like ants.
Using neem oil surely helps kill these pests, but you will have to be patient because it will take several treatments.
If you think you are going to be very busy and may not be able to faithfully carry out the treatments, do not worry. The best pest control management for garden pests in Winston-Salem, Go-Forth Pest Control, is just a phone call away.
Simply the best in pest control
Go-Forth Pest Control is an experienced pest control company with expertise in exterminating all types of pests, whether they are indoor or outdoor pests. They have reliable technicians that will help you live a pest-free life.
To request a free quote, get in touch with us now!