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Is Neem a Much Underrated Bug Repellent Ingredient?

July 26, 2016

Is Neem a Much Underrated Bug Repellent Ingredient?

First of all what is Neem oil and where does it come from?  It is a pressed vegetable oil derived from seeds of the evergreen Neem tree ( Azadirachta indica, part of the mahogany family) and, although more usually native to the Indian sub-continent and Burma, today you can find many Neem trees planted in Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Australia and parts of Africa.  Neem trees ideally flourish in warm very humid climates, but can survive to just above freezing temperatures, are arrid resistant, are fast growing and can reach 50 feet in around 10 years and live up to 200 years.

Neem tree in blossom image

Azadirachta indica - The Neem Tree in blossom

What is Neem oil used for?  It is claimed that Neem oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicinal practices for several thousand years.  The extracts from Neem kernels contain natural insecticidal properties that have surprising effects on many types of insects. Historically, and still, it is used as a natural insect repellent and pesticide (the Neem tree shoots are also eaten as a type of vegetable in India Cambodia and Thailand!).

Neem tree with seed kernels image

  Neem tree kernels on display

Is Neem Oil Effective As A Repellent?  As already mentioned it has been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications; even tiny amounts of Neem are known to disrupt the life cycles of more than 200 pest species and have also had an effect on mites, nematodes, fungi bacteria and some plant viruses.  Various studies, primarily in the Indian Sub-Continent have found Neem oil to be an extremely effective mosquito repellent.  A Neem oil substance called Salannin has been claimed to be a powerful repellent that can deter some biting insects even more than DEET.

Image of Neem Oil

Neem Oil

Our studies have found that although there is limited scientific study material available to offer an  unequivocal opinion that neem oil on its own is a 100% effective mosquito repellent we do however find that, as one of the nine ingredients within our bug repellents, it does without doubt add to the overall efficacy.

You can find it in our Bug Repellent Bars here (along with 8 other bug repelling ingredients, including PMD) and in our Soy Bug Repellent Candles here (along with a further 5 bug repelling ingredients).

That's all for today folks!

Rebecca and The Solid Bar Company Team.


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