Neem for ticks on a dairy cow

by J.
(Queensland, Australia)

Can you give me advice about using neem to help with ticks on a dairy cow? I hand milk the cow and don't want to use the standard chemical treatments in case they affect the milk.

Many thanks,

Comments for Neem for ticks on a dairy cow

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Neem and ticks
by: Birgit

Hi J,
I don't have first hand experience with cattle so I can only tell you what others have reported.

Neem oil works against both scrub and cattle ticks. It acts against ticks, larvae, and prevents the laying and/or hatching of eggs. Neem also repels the ticks.

However, it is not something that will work immediately (i.e. make all ticks fall off instantly like chemical poisons would). The main effect of neem oil is on the eggs, larvae and nymphs.

(See Neem Oil as an Insecticide.)

Neem oil is not 100% effective in preventing future ticks. If used as a repellent neem just reduces the number of ticks.

The minimum concentration required to be effective against ticks is 1% (10 ml per litre of water, plus enough detergent to fully dissolve the neem oil). Another study suggested 1.6 - 3.2% as the optimum concentration.

The neem oil supplier I use says you can make up to a 10% solution to use as an animal wash (without specifying which animals).

The 1% recommendation came from a study that tested only up to 1% and didn't go any higher. In that study, the more concentrated the neem solution was, the better it worked against all stages of the ticks.

I'd say, you may have to do some trials yourself to see with how little you can get away with.

The problem with neem oil is that it degrades quickly in UV light, that it isn't stable in water and that it washes off.

Any neem spray or neem wash needs to always be made freshly. If your cow is outside, if it rains you need to spray or wash again (some people spray the animals, some use the solution as a wash. Same thing in the end...). Otherwise every three weeks is the minimum required to prevent the ticks from completing an egg laying cycle.

If done regularly, neem will eventually get on top of the problem.

I read one article by a farmer who used this regime on a herd and also treated the paddock with a pyrethrum based product (neem is unsuitable to treat the ground because so unstable in UV light and moisture). He had very good success.

(I was going to include a link to the article but unfortunately can't for the life of me find it again.)

Hope that gives you a start!
Let us know how you go.


Thanks very much for your response. I will try it and see how I get on. The advantages of a cow that is hand milked are that you get up close and can see the number of ticks and also that you can treat as regularly as necessary. I am very interested in the use of pyrethrum on the paddock should you ever find that article and I will try and let you know how I get on.

pet store owner
by: lori

I have a few customers looking for neem oil,for use on thier dogs for ticks and fleas.Can they use this oil. thank you If sooo can i purchase as a retailer .

Neem oil as Tick repellent , Tick killer & prevention of ticks.
by: Anonymous

Dear Friend,
I read your case about ticks on your milk and I would like to say that it is very effective against Ticks. I have cattle as well as a dog, Doberman, and it stays on the farm and gets to be infected by ticks heavily and specially during Monsoon.
But I made a herbal treatment of it using neem oil as one of the ingredient and have found very good results. The ticks on the body when applied with the treatment die and then I don't find the Ticks on the body for over 7-1o days. There are few chances that at places where you haven't applied the treatment, that is where the lotion has not been in contact with skin, may be susceptible to tick formation, but else the treated skin is not effected for short period.
Regular usage make the problem negligible.
Feel free to contact me for any further details on

Can I use Neem on my goats?
by: Jan

Great Site, have recently "found" Neem Oil for the soap that I make. Now have read through and wonder if I can use it on my goats - we have a very bad biting midge problem and I also find ticks on them occasionally - they are in kid at the moment and then I will be milking them - is it safe for them and also for the milk? How often do I need to spray them, or is soaking them better? Many thanks in anticipation. Jan

Neem on goats
by: Birgit

Hi Jan,
You certainly can and it's very safe. The scientific studies on neem and ticks were done on both goats and cattle.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding timing and concentration. It depends on the climate and the tick species as well as the azadirachtin concentration in the oil used.

I would use no less than 1% and no more than 10%. And probably start with weekly applications and see how you go. And then I'd increase/decrease concentration and intervals to use as much as needed but as little as I can get away with.

(Here is a report about using neem on goat kids.)

Information about Ticks
by: mspppa

May I have some information about ticks on cows, concentration medicine, and progress to treat them?

My email address is and I am looking forward your early response. My name is Minh.

Re-Ticks on Dairy Cows
by: Danielle QLD

I have two dairy cows- one in milk at the moment. We follow the Pat Colby recommendation of adding a small amount of yellow sulphur to their feed every morning (available from the produce store). We also free range our chooks in the paddock with the cows and havent had any ticks at all. Guinea fowl are meant to be good for ticks as well.

I have been making up a solution of neem oil, water soluble tea tree oil and water soluble lavender oil in a bucket for buffalo fly control on my cows. I apply it with a car sponge (saves it being slopped all over the dairy floor) and the difference is really good. I do all under their belly and down their legs and down the midline of their face. YOu do have to reapply it if the cows get rained on but otherwise its great. I like the fact that I dont need hazchem precautions to apply it.

Healthy Dairy Cows
by: Birgit

Thanks for chiming in Danielle.

Pest control, be it on plants, animals or humans, more often than not is a matter of restoring or maintaining a healthy balance. Proper nutrition, enough natural predators, utilizing deterrents...

I like your holistic approach!

Neem Oil in Cattle
by: Andrew

People I would advise you to check blood concentration levels and recordings in the Apvma for this product, there is scientific data to show that it can cause infertility in women and men and nowhere in the world least of all Australia has the active ingredient been given approval to be used on animals for human consumption, don't think I'm against organic products but not sure this is the safest one to use.

by: Danielle

I am talking 300ml of neem in 2 Liters of water on 2 dairy cows. If it renders me infertile that would be a good, if unintended side effect however I am not bathing in it. There are a lot of things that are approved for use in cattle that would cause horrid side effects as well - well documented to have adverse effects on the applicator, the animal and the environment (including bees and frogs). To be perfectly honest I think the approval scheme is flawed. I am not cavalier about my family's health but I also do not place all my trust in governing bodies to make decisions based on what is best for the individual.

Enough of any substance - TGA approved or not - will kill you.

can neem oil be used to prevent ticks on people
by: Anonymous

If so... do I need to dilute the oil??

Milk flavor
by: Anonymous

In the past I have used neem oil for gnats on my milk cow's ears and udder. It was not diluted but also tainted the flavor of the milk. FYI :)

Splendid Indeed! NEW
by: Bobbie

Well said Danielle!!!

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