BRANDON, Fla., Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past few years, neem oil has become one of the most highly recommended pesticides in Florida because it controls pests without harming most beneficial insects.
The rest of the story is that nearly all neem oil sold in the U.S. as a pesticide has actually been a "clarified" extract of neem oil. That means the azadirachtin -- generally considered to be the single most important insect-repelling compound in neem -- has been removed.
Last year, for the first time ever, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved full-spectrum neem oil -- including the azadirachtin -- to be sold as a pesticide. In Florida, Brandon-based Neem Tree Farms is the distributor for NimBioSys™ Neem Oil Biological Insecticide, the first retail-ready 100% neem oil to be sold with an EPA-approved label.
"This is a major step forward for organic growers as well as people who are concerned about minimizing their impact on the environment," said Vicki Parsons, CEO of Neem Tree Farms. "While full-spectrum neem oil has been available online or in health food stores, it hasn't had an EPA-approved label detailing its use."
Some botanical pesticides, including rotenone and pyrethrum, are derived from natural sources, but contain toxic compounds that can harm people and beneficial insects. On the other hand, pure neem oil is a therapeutic ingredient found in products ranging from lotions and salves to shampoos and soap.
The difference between neem and other botanical pesticides is that neem works as an insect repellant, growth regulator and anti-feedant rather than just killing the pest outright. "You don't get the immediate knock-down you see with toxic pesticides but you also don't harm beneficial insects," notes Usha Rao, president of The Ahimsa Alternative, which manufactures NimBioSys. "Neem doesn't impact insects unless they're eating your plants."
NimBioSys is labeled to treat a wide variety of pests including aphids, caterpillars, beetles, stink bugs, leafhoppers, whiteflies, mealy bugs, mites, weevils, scale, leaf miners and thrips. According to the EPA, the cold-pressed neem oil "will not cause adverse effects to humans and other non-target organisms when used according to label directions."
Neem oil comes from the seed of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), which has been used in tropical countries for thousands of years. Known as the "village pharmacy" in its native India, it is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the world. The EPA approval follows nearly two years of extensive testing and review of data from dozens of international studies.
Neem Tree Farms is currently working with a number of retailers in Florida to get NimBioSys™ on the shelves of local garden shops as well as health food stores. It is also available in Florida, California, Rhode Island, Indiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, South Carolina and Utah through http://www.neemtreefarms.com.
Florida retailers may call Parsons at 877-500-6336(neem). Out-of-state retailers should contact Rao at 877-873-6336.
SOURCE Neem Tree Farms, Inc.