Makeshift organic insect repellent?

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Hello, I've read that neem oil and garlic are natural insect repellents. I have a neem tree in my backyard. If I put some neem leaves and garlic cloves in a spray bottle filled with water, would it work?
 
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Very possibly it could work. The active repellent in Neem is in the fruits though so the liquid from the squished Neem berries would probably be more effective than using the leaves. If you crush the Neem leaves when making the solution it may be more potent, but berries would be best. If you try it, let us know:)
 
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Just to be absolutely sure it's a neem tree, here is a photo.
I don't know where and when the new berries will spout, so far all the current ones are dried up (probably from last season).
It's flowering a lot though. Will I be able to use the flowers and leaves as a substitute? I don't know when it'll fruit.
 

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Oh yes that indeed is a Neem tree and a very pretty one too. To assure yourself, rub a leaf between your fingers, then smell your fingers. The leaves have a distinct fragrance that to some is not entirely pleasant, but i personally love the smell of the leaves. The Neem oil is quite pungent. You can use the leaves as an experiment, but don't use the flowers because then you will not have any berries. The berries should show up after the flowers are spent. We have lots of Neem trees around here and i wish i had one, i love to use the leaves for mulch around my plants...the leaves that naturally fall and the ones trimmed from a tree. The man who trims my olive tree used to bring me large bags of fresh trimmed Neem leaves and i paid him. Now he has disappeared and i am not worried about my olive tree going wild, but i really miss those Neem leaves. So everyday i hope my tree guy will show up again. Good luck with your potion:)
 
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@Klona i am wondering if your Neem leaves have an odor?. The ones that grow where i live do, but i just received a small Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) from another state here in Mexico and the leaves have no odor. Maybe because it is a very young tree at only 109 cm (43") from soil level to top. Now i am thinking that all Neem leaves do not necessarily have an odor, so i am very curious about your tree which is very clearly Neem. Perhaps there are different varieties but i have not seen mention of them. Or, possibly the odor is only noticeable in the heat of the day. This little one had been traveling in an air-conditioned van for a couple of days...this may be the difference. Still i would appreciate knowing if the leaves on your Neem tree have an odor. Of course the flowers will be fragrant and probably the berries as well but right now it is the leaves i am curious about. Thank you.:)
 
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The small leaves are very dry. When I was checking the leaves, I broke one of the big ones are it was really sticky inside and I assumed that was the neem's oil. There's a smell coming out of the bottle that is filled with neem leaves and water. I haven't seen a leaf miner for a few days now on my test subject (the tomato). Don't know if neem repels leaf miners.
 
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Neem oil should repel just about any insect, but i don't think the oil from the leaves is strong enough to kill them. Commercially, to make Neem oil, the berries are used which are quite potent in the active ingredient and much more effective in eliminating insects. Initially i think you mentioned a concoction of Neem leaves and garlic to use as a repellent against mosquitoes and i think this might work, but i am not sure how effective it would be against eliminating insects on plants unless the oil is made from berries. The insects die when they eat whatever leaf has been sprayed with a Neem oil/water mix. Still, it is a good sign that you haven't seen anymore leaf miners on your tomato test subject. Jolly good, we gardeners are always experimenting with things.:)

As for the fragrance of the leaves (which i am missing), i talked with a friend in India who said that the leaf fragrance will come with the maturity of the tree. Of course the flowers and probably the berries will be fragrant. It is just that my tree isn't mature enough to have fragrant leaves too.
 
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The smell of the leaves in the bottle is very weird and terrible. Plus, I think I jinxed myself when I said there were no leaf miners. I had to pick off a couple of leaves today. I don't think the mix I created is working, so I'm gonna wait till the tree produces the berries.

Is there anyway I could reduce the infestation for now? Leaf miners seem to appear very frequently. :(
I've been thinking to buy bottled neem oil from a store, any specific recommendation?
 
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Yes, lots of people don't like the odor of Neem. And be prepared, the oil odor is twice as strong:eek:

First, i recommend taking a look at Chuck's post re leaf miners here (second post from the top)
www.gardening-forums.com/threads/leaf-miners-how-to-kill-em-all.10233/

As for recommendations re Neem oil i am not familiar with what products you have where you live. You will want pure Neem Oil made from the berries, certified organic if possible. It is good if it smells really foul. You will need to spray once a week for i can't remember how many weeks (maybe Chuck says in the link above). Also there is a recipe that i can't find right now but you can probably find it here:
www.discoverneem.com/neem-insect-spray.html

The recipe for the spray is mostly water with a small amount of the Neem oil. Don't purchase more that you need or anticipate to need in the near future because it is most potent when fresh. Check the expiration date if there is one.
 
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I can't find any organic Neem oil products around here, most of them are for skin care so I can't tell if they're pure. Looks like I'll have to make my own solutions and live with this. Will garlic make a good addition to the mixture since the tree isn't producing berries for now?

And let me tell you, that bottle I made smelled so foul it made me gag. It smelled like something rotten. I wish I could send a smell sample over forums. :ROFLMAO:
 
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I honestly can't tell you if garlic will help, but i don't think it would hurt. Are you planning to use the foul solution? Yeah, i understand the rotten, gag smell and Neem smells more odd than anything else, especially the leaves.. I like it, lots of people put up with it. What all did you put in your solution? Nothing more than crushed Neem leaves and water? I am wondering how the solution became putrid. Did you leave it out in the sun to brew, and for how long? That might have caused the Neem leaves to become decayed and moldy. You still can use it if you want. Or you can simmer, not boil, crushed Neem leaves in water for 15 or 20 minutes and then put the solution in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You might as well put a fresh garlic clove in with the Neem leaves and simmer them together. Once the oils have been extracted (via simmering), you can remove the Neem leaves and garlic from the solution. I have never tried this so what i am suggesting is not based on experience, but this is how i would go about it. Did you discover how long to use it, for example, once a week for x number of weeks?
 
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The solution did not even have the slightest smell a couple of days ago. Honestly I had no idea what to do with it so I just placed it in a cupboard. I discovered the nasty smell two days ago. Maybe I did not brew it as I should have which delayed the release of the oil. Should I leave it out in the sun?

I'm still trying to figure out how frequently should I use it.
 
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About the nasty smelling solution, when you put it in the cupboard were the Neem leaves still in the solution? Whether yes or no, the solution has putrified. I don't think it is a good idea to leave it in the sun because i believe it will continue to putrify. If the smell makes you want to gag, i would throw it away and try my suggestion above which is repeated below in blue:

you can simmer, not boil, crushed Neem leaves in water for 15 or 20 minutes and then put the solution in the fridge (or keep it cool) until you are ready to use it. You might as well put a fresh garlic clove in with the Neem leaves and simmer them together. Once the oils have been extracted (via simmering), you can remove the Neem leaves and garlic from the solution.

I have not tried this, but this is what i would do. Putting the solution in the refrigerator should keep it from putrifying.

Spray the Neem (and Garlic?) solution on the leaves of affected plants once a week until you don't see any more leaf miners. Remember, once the larvae has burrowed into a leaf, there is nothing much you can do except cut off all the infected parts of the leaves and destroy them. So the Neem solution should destroy the insect phase outside of the leaf, and you will cut off all the parts of the leaves where the larvae have already burrowed into them.:)
 
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The leaves have always been in the solution. I'm gonna try your suggestion soon.
 

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