Watching your plants grow can be really fun, but bug attacks can spoil the whole experience. Did you know there’s an easy and organic way to keep insects at bay?

Organic neem oil, with its bitter taste and pungent smell, repels harmful bugs and is pet-friendly too.

Greeshma Reddy, who works in an organic farm gives a simple tip — Mix 10 to 15 ml of neem oil with a few drops of liquid soap and some warm water. Spray it onto plants. The effect is known to last for over a week.

A microbiologist Sujani Reddy sprays neem oil every 10 days on all plants in her terrace garden. She also adds neem to the soil while planting to help avoid root-borne diseases.

“Keep an eye out and identify the kind of pests that attack your plants. Usually, I prefer to remove the infected parts of the plant like the leaf or stem to get rid of the pests. But if the attack continues and you think there is no hope for a particular plant, it is best to get rid of it,” she says.

Here’s how you can make a neem-based insecticide at home:

Things needed: Spray bottle Gloves Garlic cloves Green chilli Neem oil extract Water from boiled rice Mortar and pestle

Steps: · Add the garlic pods and green chilli into the mortar and pound well with the pestle.

· Add this paste to the water from the boiled rice.

· Allow this mixture to ferment well. You could leave it aside for a couple of days or at least overnight.

· Strain the water to allow the garlic peels and chilli skin to be left out.

 Add two to three teaspoons of neem oil extract to this water.

· Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and dilute it before you spray it over the infected parts of the plant every alternate day.