Neonicotinoid vs. Azadirachtin

Asked June 5, 2019, 11:25 AM EDT

We realized that Neonicotinoid is harmful for the bee community. After intensive research we have come to the conclusion that Azadirachtin (Neem Oil) is an alternative for this harmful pesticide. This organic pesticide is safe for bees and helps kill the same type of pest that Neonicotinoid is trying to kill. What is the biggest cons about Neem Oil that is preventing more farmers to stay away from this organic pesticide.

Middlesex County New Jersey

2 Responses

Thank you for your question for eXtension. The topic area in which you've made a request is not yet fully staffed by eXtension experts and therefore we cannot provide you with a timely answer. Instead, if you live in the United States, please consider contacting the Cooperative Extension office closest to you. Simply go to http://articles.extension.org, drop in your zip code and choose the office that is most convenient for you. We apologize that we can't help you right now, but please come back to eXtension to check in as we grow and add experts.

Thank you for your question. Researchers in both California and Oregon have been conducting extensive research on Azadirachtin (Neem Oil) and its impact on pollinator populations. Although the 'old' thinking was that it had to be ingested before it could cause harm, it appears that it may not be as benign as first believed. (http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PDF/PMG/pnw591.pdf) It is, of course, toxic to bees and other insects if it 'lands' on them and smothers them. Spraying on combs caused full to partial mortality (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00218839.2016.1260239?scroll=top&needAccess=true&...) (https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/15/1/137/2583443)

Since most farmers don't read this, they may not know. But I have experienced that there is confusion about adding adherents to neem oil, frustration that it washes off so fast and is of short-lasting effect, and these may account for farmers using the 'tried and true' commercial insecticides, rather than Azadirachtin. Hope this is helpful.