Azadirachtin (AQ) is a natural product extracted from the seeds of the Azadirachta indica tree. AQ was first isolated in the early 1960’s when it was found to have antibacterial activity against several bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Since then, it has been used in various forms such as a tincture, a syrup and even a cream.
The active ingredient in AQ is called azadirachtin. It is derived from the seeds of the Azadirachta indica tree which are native to India. The bark of the tree contains other alkaloids like quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin that may contribute to its antiseptic properties.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of azadirachtin as an antimicrobial agent. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood but it appears to act through inhibition of bacterial cell wall synthesis. Several studies have shown that azadirachtin inhibits growth of S.
aureus and P. aeruginosa strains, reduces their motility and induces apoptosis in these organisms . In addition, it has been shown to suppress the production of extracellular polysaccharides and also to kill mycobacteria such as M. tuberculosis in vitro. While promising results have been obtained using purified aza, its use as a therapeutic agent is limited by its low water solubility and toxicity.
Clinically, it has been shown that the use of a 1% tincture of the seeds in ethanol is effective in treating chronic ulcerative stomatitis (ulcers in the mouth). The ethanol vehicle has been reported to have a desensitizing effect on the mucous membranes and the antimicrobial activity of the tincture appears to suppress any tendency toward ulceration.
While it is possible that the ethanol vehicle contributes to the activity of this tincture, it has been shown that the aqueous ethanol extract of the seeds is also active. In addition, this activity is not greatly affected by the type of ethanol used (ethyl, propyl or isopropyl) or by the addition of glycerol as a co solvent.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration considers the aqueous extract of the seeds, to be ‘generally regarded as safe’. It can be purchased without a prescription and is used mainly as a veterinary antimicrobial agent. The main side effect is gastric irritation and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of antigenicity or immunotoxicity.
Azamax® contains the active ingredient, azadirachtin, which is a natural insecticide that comes from the neem tree. It is a very effective, non-repellent and safe for users, pets, wildlife and the environment. It works by interfering with the insect’s feeding mechanism, stopping them from eating.
When azamax is applied to your lawn it will provide protection for up to four weeks.
Clariant’s Nippon Neem Products Co. Ltd., a Japanese subsidiary of Clariant, is responsible for introducing neem-based products in that country.
One of these products, Azamax, is a concentrated insecticide containing the active ingredient, azadirachtin. It is active against a broad spectrum of pests such as aphids, leaf miners, thrips, whiteflies, mealy bugs, mites and more. It has the added benefits that it is non-toxic to humans and pets when used as directed, quickly biodegradable and has a long residual effect.
I’ve been using Azamax as the only insecticide in my garden for 3 years now with great results. I used to routinely get infestations of aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage moths. Since using Azamax I rarely see an insect and when I do it’s a 1 or 2 individual insects, never more than that.
It has also greatly reduced my need to use fertilizer since I stop insect damage before it occurs. Personally, I use it as a drench mixed with water every three months throughout the entire yard. I also use a concentrate mixed at 1oz per gallon of water in a sprayer for spot treating any signs of insects.
As good as this may sound, do not expect miracles from this spray. Nothing beats cleanliness and good garden practices. A good layer of mulch, kept at a proper height, goes along way in preventing many pests from laying eggs in the soil.
Also, be sure to remove and discard any infested plant material as soon as possible. These two practices will prevent many problems. However, even the best gardeners get an insect or two so have some Azamax on hand for those emergencies. One final precaution, as this is an oil based material and will damage any plastic it comes in contact with, be sure to store it in a glass container with a tight lid.
Azamax should be available at most garden centers and nurseries though it might go by another name. It comes in various size containers from a single use packet to a large container with a handle for repeated use. It’s not expensive so I would get the largest container you can and use it liberally.
Azamax can save your garden from many insects and has many other benefits.
Azamax is an excellent product for controlling many insects in your lawn and garden. It contains the organic (natural) pesticide, Azadirachtin, which is extracted from the Neem Tree. This product will kill most insects upon contact but has very little effect on humans, dogs, cats, wildlife and bees unless they consume the insect itself.
Azamax also has a long residual effect so that insects do not become resistant to it. One application will usually last for about 3 months outdoors and 6 months indoors. It works by physically changing the permeability of the insects outer shell, causing them to dehydrate.
As with most pesticides, I feel it is best to use nature against the problem and Azamax is no exception. While this product will work great on it’s own, the added benefit is that it will break the life cycle of many insects thus preventing larger problems in the future.
Azamax can be used to prevent and treat these types of insects: Grubs (including Japanese Beetle Grubs), Aphids, Whiteflies, Mealy Bugs, Scale, Thrips and most other insect pests that you find in lawns, landscapes and gardens.
This product comes in 4 different types:
Insecticidal Soap: This is the original product and comes in liquid concentrates (for mixing themselves) or ready to use (just spray and go) bottles. This is good for preventing insects.
Insecticidal Soap Concentrate: This product comes in a liquid concentrate (mix with water before using). It is a little cheaper than the ready to use version but you have to mix it yourself.
Insecticidal Soap Concentrate (#2): This is the strongest concentrate you can buy. It not only kills insects but it will also strip their protective outer layers off allowing other pesticides to work better. This is the concentrate that I use.
Insecticidal Soap Ready to Use: This product is ready to use and comes highly recommended.
Return to the main Organic Pesticides Page.
Sources & references used in this article:
Synergistic use of azadirachtin and pyrethrum by PFZ Chang, JF Walter, JR Harris – US Patent 5,679,662, 1997 – Google Patents
Co-extraction of azadirachtin and neem oil by MT Roland, JJ Blouin – US Patent 5,397,571, 1995 – Google Patents
Co-extraction of azadirachtin and neem oil by MT Roland, JJ Blouin – US Patent 5,503,837, 1996 – Google Patents
Extraction of Neem Oil from Neem Seeds by AE Elshierh, ABE Edres – 2014 – repository.sustech.edu
Fungicide compositions derived from neem oil and neem wax fractions by JC Locke, JF Walter, HG Larew III – US Patent 5,298,251, 1994 – Google Patents