Toxicity of neem to natural enemies of aphids


Neem [Azadirachta indica (A. Juss.)] seed oil (NSO) applied in three concentrations, 0.5%, 1% and 2%, to potted plants infested with green peach aphid,Myzus persicae (Sulzer), totally prevented adult eclosion of larval coccinellids,Coccinella undecimpunctata L., and reduced adult eclosion of syrphids,Eupeodes fumipennis (Thompson), to 11%, 7% and 0%, respectively, of the controls. Under the same conditions, NSO did not reduce the rate of parasitism ofM. persicae byDiaeretiella rapae (Mcintosh), but emergence of parasitoid adults from aphid mummies collected from treated plants was reduced to 35%, 24% and 0%, respectively, of the controls. Although topical treatment of predator larvae with NSO at concentrations of up to 5% did not affect survival, emergence of parasitoids from mummies dipped in aqueous emulsions of NSO at similar rates was reduced significantly. Under field conditions, sprays of NSO and neem seed extract to plants had no significant impact on the number of aphids parasitized. Although total numbers of predators were reduced, numbers of predators relative to aphid numbers were similar to those in controls. Neem insecticides may be suitable for use in integrated pest management programs, as under field use they appear to be relatively benign to aphid predators and parasitoids.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Ascher, K.R.S. (1993) Nonconventional insecticidal effects of pesticides available from the neem tree,Azadirachta indica.Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 22:433–439.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Feldhege, M. and Schmutterer, H. (1993) Investigations on side-effects of Margosan-O onEncarsia formosa Gah. (Hym., Aphelinidae), parasitoid of the greenhouse whitefiy,Trialeurodes vaporariorum Westw. (Horn., Aleyrodidae).J. Appl. Entomol. 115:37–42.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Frazer, B.D. (1988) Minks, A.K. and Harrewijn, P. [Eds.] Aphids, Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. Vol. 2B, pp. 217-230. Elsevier, New York, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hoelmer , K.A., Osborne, L.S. and Yokomi, R.K. (1990) Effects of neem extracts on beneficial insects in greenhouse Locke, J.C. and Lawson, R.H. [Eds.] Neem’s Potential in Pest Management Programs, Proc. USDA Neem Workshop. USDA ARS-86, pp. 100-105.

  5. 5.

    Hsieh, C.Y. and Allen, W.W. (1986) Effects of insecticides on emergence, survival, longevity, and fecundity of the parasitoidDiaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae) from mummifiedMyzus persicae (Homoptera: Aphididae).J. Econ. Entomol. 79:1599–1602.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Isman, M.B., Koul, O., Luczynski, A. and Kaminsky, J. (1990) Insecticidal and antifeedant bioactivities of neem oils and their relationship to azadirachtin content.J. Agric. Food Chem. 38:1406–1411.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Kaethner, M. (1991) Keine Nebenwirkungen von Niempräparaten auf die aphidophagen PrädatorenChrysoperla carnea (Steph.) undCoccinella septempunctata L.Anz. Schädlingskd. Pflanzenschutz Umweltschutz 64:97–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Klemm, U. and Schmutterer, H. (1993) Effects of neem preparations onPlutella xylostella L. and its natural enemies of the genusTrichogramma.Z. Pflanzenkr. Pflanzenschutz 100:113–128.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Lowery, D.T., Isman, M.B. and Brard, N.L. (1993) Laboratory and field evaluation of neem for the control of aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae).J. Econ. Entomol. 86:864–870.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    McCloskey, C., Arnason, J.T., Donskov, N., Chenier, R., Kaminsky, J. and Philogène, B.J.R. (1992) Third trophic level effects of azadirachtin.Can. Entomol. 125:163–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Mohan, K., Gopalan, M. and Balasubramanian, G. (1991) Studies on the effects of neem products and monocrotophos against major pests of rice and their safety to natural enemies.Indian J. Plant Prot. 19:23–30.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Naumann, K., Currie, R.W. and Isman, M.B. (1994) Evaluation of the repellent effects of a neem insecticide on foraging honeybees and other pollinators.Can. Entomol. 126: 225–230.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Osman, M.Z. and Bradley, J. (1993) Effects of neem seed extracts onPholetestor (Apanteles) glomeratus L. (Hym., Braconidae), a parasitoid ofPieris brassicae L. (Lep., Pieridae).J. Appl. Entomol. 115:259–265.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Saxena, R.C. (1987) Neem seed derivatives for management of rice insect pests — a review of recent Schmutterer, H. and Ascher, K.R.S. [Eds.] Natural Pesticides from the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) and Other Tropical Plants.Proc. 3rd Int. Neem Conf. (Nairobi, Kenya), pp. 81-93.

  15. 15.

    Schauer, M. (1985) Die Wirkung von Nieminhaltsstoffen auf Blattläuse und die Rubenblattwanze. Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of Giessen, Germany. [Cited by Schmutterer, H. (1990) (ref. 17)]

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Schmutterer, H. (1988) Potential of azadirachtin-containing pesticides for integrated pest control in developing and industrialized countries.J. Insect Physiol. 34:713–719.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Schmutterer, H. (1990) Properties and potential of natural pesticides from the neem tree,Azadirachta indica.Annu. Rev. Entomol. 35:271–297.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Schmutterer, H. (1992) Einfluβ von Azadirachtin, einer azadirachtinfreien Fraktion, eines alkoholischen Niemsamenextraktes und von formulierten Extrakten auf Verpuppung, Schlupf und Imagines der Kohlweiβlings-brackwespeApanteles glomeratus (L.) (Hym., Braconidae).J. Appl. Entomol. 113:79–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Schmutterer, H., Saxena, R.C. and Heyde, J. v.d. (1983) Morphogenetic effects of some partially-purified fractions and methanolic extracts of neem seeds onMythimna separata (Walker) andCnaphalocrocis medinalis (Guenee).Z. Angew. Entomol. 95:230–237.

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Srivastava, S.K. and Parmar, B.S. (1985) Evaluation of neem oil emulsifiable concentrate against sorghum aphids.Neem Newsl. 2:7.

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Stark, J.D., Wong, T.T.Y., Vargas, R.I. and Thalman, R.K. (1990) Survival, longevity, and reproduction of tephritid fruit fly parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) reared from fruit flies exposed to azadirachtin.J. Econ. Entomol. 85:1125–1129.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Wilkinson, L. (1990) Systat: The System for Statistics. Systat Inc., Evanston, IL, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Zar, J.H. (1984) Biostatistical Analysis. 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to D. T. Lowery or M. B. Isman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lowery, D.T., Isman, M.B. Toxicity of neem to natural enemies of aphids. Phytoparasitica 23, 297–306 (1995).

Download citation

Key Words

  • Neem
  • Azadirachta indica
  • aphid
  • Myzus persicae
  • parasitoid
  • Diaeretiella rapae
  • predators
  • Coccinella undecimpunctata
  • Eupeodes fumipennis
  • toxicity