Introduction: Organic Insect Repellent

In this Instructable I will show you how to make a cheap and easy Organic Insect Repellent, in both a cream & handy spray form!

Step 1: How to Make the Spray

For the handy spray you will need:

5ml Neem Oil
2ml washing up liquid, or soap (organic)
1L Water
1x Spray bottle (clean)

1: Add 5ml of Neem Oil to the 1L of Water (or 5% Neem if you want to make a different quantity).

2: Add 2ml emulsifying agent, like washing up liquid or soap.

3: Decanter into a clean spray bottle, shake and apply directly to exposed skin.

Step 2: How to Make the Cream

To make the cream you will need:

4ml Neem oil
100ml Shea butter and coconut oil moisturizer

1: mix the oil into the shea butter and coconut oil moisturizer, and apply to exposed skin.

Step 3: What Is Neem Oil & How Dose It Work?

What is Neem Oil?

Neem oil, the oil pressed from the seeds of the neem tree, is the most widely known and used neem product.

Well, at least in the western world it is. Indians, of course, have known and used all parts of the neem tree for thousands of years...

Neem oil has many different uses and benefits...

* A natural insect repellent
* A safe pesticide
* A fertilizer
* A skin care ingredient
* A contraceptive
* A medicine with hundreds of different uses

How Dose It Work?

Neem oil has many complex active ingredients. Rather than being simple poisons, those ingredients are similar to the hormones that insects produce. Insects take up the neem oil ingredients just like natural hormones.

Neem enters the system and blocks the real hormones from working properly. Insects "forget" to eat, to mate, or they stop laying eggs. Some forget that they can fly. If eggs are produced they don't hatch, or the larvae don't moult.

Obviously insects that are too confused to eat or breed will not survive. The population eventually plummets, and they disappear. The cycle is broken.

How precisely it works is difficult for scientists to find out. There are too many different active substances in neem oil, and every insect species reacts differently to neem insecticide.

Field studies that were done on the natural mosquito repelling action of neem oil:

* In 1994 the the Malaria Research Centre of Delhi, India, tested whether kerosene lamps with 1% neem oil can protect people from mosquito bites. For that test they burned the lamps in living rooms, and from 6 pm to 6 am caught the mosquitoes sitting on the walls and those attracted to human bait (i.e. volunteers).

Neem oil clearly reduced the number of bites on the volunteers and also the number of mosquitoes caught. The protection was greater against anopheles species (the ones that transmit malaria) than against culex.

* A 1995 study at a field station the Malaria Research Centre in Ranipur, Hardwar, India, tested a mix of 2% neem oil mixed in coconut oil.

They showed that applying that mixture to the skin provided significant protection from various mosquitoes. It worked best against anophelines, offering 96-100% protection! (The malaria transmitting anopheles mosquitoes fall into this group). The numbers for other species were 85% for Aedes (carries dengue fever), 61-94% for Culex spp. (can carry West Nile virus) and 35% for Armigeres.

* In 1996 the Malaria Research Centre of Delhi, India did another field trial with kerosene lamps in an Indian village. Kerosene lamps with 1% neem oil were kept burning from dusk to dawn in living rooms.

They found that the lamps kept the mosquitoes out of the living rooms and that the malaria incidents of the population dropped dramatically (from about ten cases per thousand people to only one in thousand). Once the lamps were removed, the mosquitoes returned and so did the malaria.

(As for the safety of this method, another 1996 study by the Malaria Research Centre in Delhi, India tested the effects of kerosene lamps with 1% neem oil. Clinical examination of 156 adults and 110 children did not reveal any major adverse effects after one year of exposure to 1% neem oil.)