Neem Oil and Insects

Posted by

Your garden can be visited by many insects, both pests and beneficiaries. As such, it can be difficult to know which insects to treat with neem oil, and which to avoid targeting. Although it is impossible to cover all insects in one article, here are three common visitors you may want to consider before treating.


Neem oil can be used to control caterpillar infestations in your garden. Caterpillars can eat leves which ultimately inhibits plant growth. Be careful when using neem oil to deal with caterpillars, as butterflies are an important part of the ecosystem. Therefore, apply sparingly, and in the evenings, to avoid lasting damage.


Neem oil is not harmful to earthworms, unlike traditional chemical pesticides. It can actually be beneficial to them. Be careful to check that your neem oil is not mixed with any harmful contaminants, however. Despite neem being beneficial, there may be other ingredients in your mix which can damage the earthworm. They are important for a healthy garden, as they help to cultivate soil. They increase the production of available nutrients, help with drainage, and improve soil structure.


Lawn grubs are the larvae form of Japanese beetles, and they can create brown patches on your lawn by tunnelling underground and eating roots. By applying a neem oil spray at night, and reapplying after rainfall, the grubs will be removed, and the adult beetles will be prevented from laying any further eggs.

Does neem oil affect pollinators?

Pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc.) are vital to ensuring food supplies are stable and healthy. There may be some concerns surrounding the use of neem oil, and how it can affect these insects. However, neem oil is not harmful to bees, butterfield, or ladybirds. This is because the treated plant must be ingested to cause damage to pests.

However, it can hurt them if they are directly targeted, so be careful when applying neem to your garden. Avoid spraying flowers as a precaution.