Aphids are sap-sucking organisms. Neem (Azadirachta indica), a systemic biopesticide, should help protect your crop. Neem oil is not an instantly effective insecticide. Spraying it on crops does not result in the immediate elimination of harmful insects and pests. The oil’s action on the pests and insects is through their hormone system, affecting their metabolism. On ingesting the oil, Insects stop eating and cannot breed, propagate, and proliferate, breaking their lifecycle. In time, the pests die, and the entire colony disappears. Pest eggs can also not hatch, and the larvae cannot molt.

Chewing and sucking insects only get impacted by neem oil, the biopesticide made from neem seeds. The action of neem is selective, with destruction restricted to only this variety of pests. Neem oil acts slowly, unlike fast-acting chemical insecticides, but the action is long-lasting. The quantities of neem oil required are much smaller, and the insecticide action occurs at deficient concentrations.

Neem oil is a very powerful antifeedant and insect repellent. The oil is especially susceptible to ultraviolet light. The oil, in the diluted form, can be applied to the soil. The insecticide travels into the plant body with water and nutrients, providing long-lasting insecticidal properties to the crop. The insecticidal action takes place in situ. An insect may take a bite or two of such plants but then stop due to systemic impact.

Azadirachtin forms 90% of neem oil insecticide. Salannin, another substance obtained from neem, is a powerful repellent deterring pests from biting on plants they would otherwise love to feed upon. The deterrent action is more powerful than the ” Deet ” synthetic chemical (N N Diethyl meta toluamide). Deet is an ingredient in most insect repellents commonly found on the market.

The biopesticide action of neem commences when an insect larva feeds on the plant. The active molecules in neem—azadirachtin, salanin, and melandriol—cause an anti-peristaltic wave in the alimentary canal in the insect, causing a vomiting sensation that forces them to stop feeding.

The active ingredient in neem that provides its pesticidal properties is azadirachtin, a chemical compound found in the seeds of the neem tree. Azadirachtin acts as an antifeedant and insect growth regulator, interfering with insects’ normal feeding and growth patterns and leading to their death.

In addition to azadirachtin, neem also contains other compounds with pesticide properties, such as Nimbin and salanin, which have both insecticidal and fungicidal properties.

Using neem as a biopesticide is considered safe for the environment and beneficial insects, such as honeybees, ladybugs, and lacewings. Additionally, neem products are deemed safe for human health, as they are biodegradable and break down into harmless environmental substances.

Overall, the biopesticidal properties of neem make it an attractive alternative to synthetic pesticides and an important tool in integrated pest management programs

Additional reading:
Asian Herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties

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