Script 30.3

Notes to broadcasters

Just one word of caution. There is a chance that this spray could be harmful to certain kinds of fish. So if you want to use the spray on rice pests and you are raising fish in your paddy field, it would be a good idea to try the spray first in a small area to make sure it doesn’t affect your fish.


Content: Make a spray from neem seeds to protect crops from insect pests. Dry the seeds, crush them to a powder, soak overnight in water, and then apply to plants.

Today it’s no-cost pest control! We’re going to talk about how you can use neem seeds to control some of the insects that attack your crops. Neem seed spray controls many kinds of flies, grasshoppers, beetles, grubs, and caterpillars. The spray is very bitter so the insects stay away from plants that are sprayed with it.

Collect, dry, and store the seeds

Collect seeds from ripe neem fruit. Store them until you need to use them. You may be able to find the seeds on the ground under neem trees, where birds leave them after eating the fruit. Wash off any of the fruit that’s still sticking to the seeds. Otherwise, gather ripe neem fruit, and wash or scrub off the soft fleshy part. By the way, don’t throw out the left-over pulp. It’s good fertilizer. Add it to your garden soil or compost pile.

Dry the seeds well so they won’t get mouldy and spoil. Spread them to dry in the sun, preferably on mats, and stir them from time to time so they dry evenly. After three or four hours in the sun, you could put them in the shade for a while so they don’t get too hot.

Keep drying them this way for several days. Then put them into baskets or woven sacks. Do not put them in plastic bags. Keep them in a dry, airy place until you are ready to make the spray.

Some farmers dry more seeds than they need right away and store them in a dry place, so they’ll have dry neem seeds to use later.

Prepare the spray

Start preparing the spray the day before you are going to use it. Be sure that the seeds are clean with no mould or dirt in them. You will need one big double handful of seeds for every litre of spray you prepare. A double handful is the amount of neem seeds you can scoop up with two hands. So for 10 litres of spray you’ll need 10 big double handfuls of seed. For 20 litres you will need 20 double handfuls, and so on.

Let’s say you want to prepare 10 litres of spray. Crush or grind 10 double handfuls of seed into a coarse powder. Mix this powder with 10 litres of water. Stir the mixture well. Leave it covered overnight.

The next day, filter the mixture through a fine cloth, or several layers of coarser cloth. If you’ll be using a sprayer, be sure to filter the mixture well so it won’t block the spray nozzle. You can now use the liquid to spray on your crop.

Once the mixture is prepared it is important to apply it immediately. Even one day after preparation it won’t control pests as effectively.

To apply the spray, use a sprayer, a watering can, a small broom, or even a bundle of leaves. Farmers in India simply get a bundle of neem leaves, immerse it in the spray fluid, and then sprinkle it on the crop, just by shaking the wet neem leaves vigorously.

Neem seed spray controls many insect pests

This spray controls many kind of flies, grasshoppers, beetles, grubs, caterpillars, and other insect pests. It doesn’t necessarily kill the pests, but it often stops them from eating your crop, or from laying their eggs. In many cases the pests may eat some of the treated crop but then they get sick and don’t do any more damage. You’ll find that neem spray affects different pests in different ways.

Information Sources

  • Dr. Ramesh C. Saxena, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Neem: a tree for solving global problems (141 pages, 1992), the National Academy Press, Washington D.C. Available from the Board on Science and Technoogy for International Development, Publications and Information Services (FO-2060Z), National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 U.S.A.
  • Natural pesticides from the neem tree (51 pages, 1984), published by GTZ GmbH (German Agency for Technical Co-operation), Postfach 5180, 6236 Eschborn 1, Germany. Also available in French.
  • Neem, a natural insecticide (34 pages), published by GTZ, Postfach 5180, 6236 Eschborn 1, Germany. Also available in French.
  • Neem leaf protects stored grain, ATIC Handout 33 (1985, one page), issued by the Appropriate Technology Information Centre, 8 West Madras St., Srinagar Colony, Saidapet, Madras 600015, India.
  • Treatment of cabbage and gboma against pests with neem seed extract, (21 pages, 1990) published by the Plant Protection Directorate, B.P. 1263, Lome-Cacaveli, Togo, West Africa. Also available in French.
  • Perspectivas del aprovechamiento del arbol de nim (12 pages), published by the Centro de Protección Vegetal, Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia, Managua, Nicaragua.
  • Santinig Vol. IV, Nos. 197, 198, 200, and Vol. V, Nos. 203, 204, 205 (August 1 – September 26, 1986), 7 part series on “Neem: production and potential”, published by the Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters, 1353 Leon Guinto Street, Ermita, Manila, Philippines.
  • Neem: The cornucopia tree (90 pages, 1986), compiled by and available from Michael D. Benge, Agroforestry Officer, Bureau for Science and Technology, Office of Forestry, Environment, and Natural Resources, Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C. 20523
  • Natural crop protection (185 pages, 1985) by Gaby Stoll, published by AGRECOL c/o OKOZENTRUM, CH-4438 Langenbruck, Switzerland. Also available in French and Spanish.
  • “How to use the insecticidal properties of neem: Some practical information including oil production and storage of seeds” (1983, 3 pages) by M. Dreyer. Reprinted as ECHO TECHNICAL NOTE A-2, available from ECHO, R.R. #2, Box 852, North Fort Myers, Florida 33903, U.S.A.