neem oil for cockroaches

Neem Oil for Cockroaches: Does It Work?

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Are you thinking about using neem oil for cockroaches but is skeptical about its effectiveness? This article explores whether neem oil works or not for cockroaches by considering available research.


Neem oil is a derivative of the Azadirachta indica (neem or nimtree). The tree’s healing properties have been explored for centuries, and it’s famous among Asian countries.

Studies suggest that formulations containing neem may be best suited for skin diseases, ringworms, ulcers, and other maledictions.

While the neem plant possesses various therapeutic benefits, this article focuses on neem oil’s effect on cockroaches. Before looking into neem oil for cockroaches, however, let’s talk about its insecticidal properties.

Neem Oil as an Insecticidal

Many horticultural sprays are formulated using neem oil. This is because some studies have shown its effectiveness as an insecticidal. For example, promising results were seen when neem oil was used to kill stink bug nymphs. Other studies suggest it may be used in integrated pest management programs to control aphids in gardens.

Products containing neem may also prove beneficial against maggots, biting flies, horn flies, and blowflies. Neem oil is seen as one of the least toxic substances to humans, but repulsive and lethal for some pests.

When used as an insecticide or pesticide in gardens, neem oil works in various ways. These include:

  • Preventing pests from feeding on a leaf that has been sprayed
  • Reducing molting in some insects
  • Altering how an insect develops and grows
  • Restraining fertility in some insects
  • Repelling insects
  • Killing some insects

When used as an insecticide, the possibilities are endless. Let’s finally get to the elephant in the room and talk about neem oil for cockroaches and if it works.

Neem Oil for Cockroaches: Does it Work?

Does neem oil work against cockroaches? That’s a resounding yes. The most active ingredient of neem oil, Azadirachtin, is responsible for this action.

Neem oil is lethal to young cockroaches and prevents adults from reproducing (laying eggs). In fact, a study showed that extracts from the neem seed had a mortality rate of 35% on cockroaches. When higher concentrations were used, the rate at which cockroaches were killed increased. The minimum dose (0.50 % v/v) proved lethal within 60 minutes of application.

Typical baits used to kill cockroaches can be imbued with neem oil to slow down the growth of German, oriental, and brown-banded cockroaches. American cockroaches also seemed more drawn to pellets treated with neem oil, against those that weren’t treated. On the other hand, milk cartons used with neem repelled them.

Repellent Activity of Essential Oils and Neem Oil Against Cockroaches

Some essential oils can repel cockroaches. Citrus hystrix DC, an essential oil derived from kaffir lime leaf, showed 100% repellency against American, German, and the harlequin roach.

When tested in the field, a 20% concentration of kaffir lime leaf essential oil in ethanol kept most cockroaches at bay, up to 86%. Oregano, rosemary, mint, and eucalyptus are other essential oils that repel cockroaches, even proving toxic to some.

Integrating essential oils with neem oil to repel (and possibly kill) cockroaches from crawling into kitchen cupboards and cabinet spaces is a field worth exploring.

Possible Ways to Use Neem Oil for Cockroaches

Cockroaches love to settle in dark, undisturbed areas of your home. This affords them all the privacy they need to poop, feed, and pop out oothecas (some containing up to 16 eggs).

Spraying your home with a solution of neem and essential oils may repel them from certain areas, and even deal a fatal blow to nymph cockroaches. This can also be sprayed directly onto cockroaches you come into contact with, the same way you’d dose one with a spray.

A simple oil-based solution can be used (up 30% essential oil and 70% neem oil). A less viscous spray can also be made by solubilizing neem and essential oils in ethanol.

An ethanol-based spray may also be used to clean kitchen counters and repel cockroaches from crawling over it.

Neem Oil for Cockroaches, Conclusion

So, does neem oil for cockroaches work? Studies show it does. However, there’s much left to be explored using neem oil for cockroaches. It may be used in commercial formulations, specifically targeting cockroaches, to inhibit growth, repel cockroaches, or even to kill them.

Why not create your own little controlled experiment using essential oils and neem oil for cockroaches? Of course, essential oils should be used carefully. If you do have pets at home, some essential oils may prove toxic to them, so try not to use directly on them.

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