Directions for Using Neem Oil
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Louise
Posted on: April 09, 2005

I have neem oil and would like to know what ratio to mix in order to use it as an insecticide. My bay and lemon trees have a scale problem -- please help

Below are the directions from the label of our HerbWild "Bug-A-Bug" product. "Bug-A-Bug" is a neem oil specially prepared for use on plants.

"Directions: Mix 1 tsp. neem oil and 1/4 tsp liquid dishwashing soap (e.g. Ivory) in 1 liter (1qt) warm water. Shake well and spray immediately on affected plants making sure to cover pests. Repeat every 2-4 weeks as needed. Some plants may be too sensitive and may burn (turn yellow or brown). Keep away from children, do not take internally, and avoid contact with eyes. Store oil in dark place at room temperature. If oil hardens, soak bottle in warm but not hot water. (e.g. Ivory) in 1 liter (1qt) warm water. Shake well and spray immediately on affected plants making sure to cover pests. Repeat every 2-4 weeks as needed. Some plants may be too sensitive and may burn (turn yellow or brown). Keep away from children, do not take internally, and avoid contact with eyes. Store oil in dark place at room temperature. If oil hardens, soak bottle in warm but not hot water. (e.g. Ivory) in 1 liter (1qt) warm water. Shake well and spray immediately on affected plants making sure to cover pests. Repeat every 2-4 weeks as needed. Some plants may be too sensitive and may burn (turn yellow or brown). Keep away from children, do not take internally, and avoid contact with eyes. Store oil in dark place at room temperature. If oil hardens, soak bottle in warm but not hot water."

Neem oil does not kill bugs immediately; it acts as an antifeedant so that bugs either leave or starve to death. The effect is relatively slow so you need to be patient. Repeat sprayings are necessary.

Scale insects present a special challenge because their hard shells protect them from most pesticides. You may need to scrape the shells off using a knife or apply rubbing alcohol using cotton swabs in order to weaken the shells and allow the neem oil to penetrate. Scale infestations are notoriously hard to eradicate: it takes persistance to get rid of them.

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