Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tropical tree species (from the mahogany family) which is native to India. Although an exotic species, neem is commonly found in the Azuero on roadsides, parks and yards, mostly due to being a drought-resistant, fast growing evergreen tree, which provides dense shade during the lengthy dry season. Besides providing shade, neem has medicinal properties derived from neem oil. The oil is easily extracted from the leaves and seeds which can be used to produce an organic pesticide that is both less expensive and less toxic than conventional agrochemicals.
Neem oil basically affects insects by intervening at several stages of an insect’s life and therefore is a useful application on garden plants and agricultural crops as well as keeping insects out of your home[i].
I use the following recipe:
(Note: It is best to use the fruit and seed but if it is not the fruiting season, you can get the oil out of the leaves.)
- Use a five gallon bucket
- Fill 1/3 of the bucket with smashed/crushed neem fruit and seed or well chopped leaves
- Fill the bucket with hot water up to the 2/3 mark
- Cut a bar of organic soap into thirds, add 1/3 of the soap into the water and stir until it has dissolved
- Stir mixture repeatedly for one week twice a day
- Filter the solution
- Drip or spray onto plants in the later afternoon
Posted by Jacob L. Slusser, Forester and Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Yale F&ES Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI) Training Program.
[i] National Research Council. 1992. Neem: A Tree For Solving Global Problems. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.