Spider mites. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Actually, we really could live without them. Spider mites in our gardens are such a pain! If your leaves are full of holes or yellow splotches and you’ve identified the culprit, keep reading. In addition to finding the right spider mite killer product, we researched and found some unconventional and organic tips to get these pests out of your garden.
Isolate the infested plant, and get rid of the top layer of soil where spider mites might be living. In addition, a spider mite killer spray will kill the mites on contact.
Keep your plants in a stress-free state by watering, tending and using mulch regularly. Remove infested leaves, and throw them away immediately to prevent the mites from spreading.
There are a variety of homemade mixtures and sprays you can try. In addition to an organic spray product, use a mild dish soap and water mixture to wipe down your plants every six days.
Try wiping rubbing alcohol underneath each infested leaf on your plant.
After you kill the spider mites with a spray, mix a concoction of white flour, water and a little bit of buttermilk. Spray on leaves once a week to keep new mites away from your plant.
Mix olive oil, two to three cloves of garlic, hot sauce, dish soap, lemon juice and water together. Strain through a cheese cloth, and spray on plants two to three times a week.
Habanero peppers are another organic way to control spider mites. Chop them up and mix with water in a large pot or bucket. Then, dip the leaves in the mixture. Be sure to wear gloves!
Peppermint or rosemary extract in a misting spray could also do the trick. Spider mites hate the strong odor.
Hose down your plants with water with high pressure if your plants can take it, as dust really encourages spider mites. Water can also destroy webbing and disrupt egg laying.
Bring the ladybugs home. We’ve all heard that ladybugs landing on you are good luck, and it’s true. Ladybugs and other mites are natural predators and can be found at local nurseries. An organic spider mite killer spray should not affect ladybugs.
Purchase a spider mite killing spray in addition to these remedies to ensure the spider mites are gone for good. Use these remedies as a supplement.
- Spider Mites question
- A Natural Bug Repellent For Your Garden: Hot Pepper Wax
- Talk about plants with a lot of uses.
- How does hot pepper wax work?
- Is it safe to eat plants sprayed with hot pepper wax?
- Are there other benefits?
- Where can you buy hot pepper wax?
- Can you make your own?
- Products from Amazon.com
- Ask Ruth: Hot Pepper Spray
- Gardeners: Got a question for Ruth? Email it to us at
- Cayenne pepper or liquid hot sauce as a deer repellent
- Homemade Hot Pepper Spray Recipe
- How To Make A Garlic Hot Pepper Pest Spray
- How Often To Spray
- Using Hot Pepper Spray In Gardens And Flowerbeds
Spider Mites question
well I just went through a spidermite infestation….an this lil concoction of habanero peppers (sp) was a good fix….first spray puts a thin residue of hot peppers sauce on the leaves where the mites were…I couldnt believe it the results…cost me a whole $1.19 to fix my problem…when the mites decided to have lunch…the end result was died of starvation an hot mouth hahaha… its a bit messy cause its not a 1 time treatment… but so far its all good…
“Now then, for all you fervent horticulturists…”
Spider mites are alive; you can make them dead. All life is fragile, but… “how do I kill the mites without hurting my crop?”
I will not use pesticides or harmful chemicals on my plants; thus, I have found an all-natural way to rid the infestations that sometimes occur. Curing your plants takes time and care, but you can rid your babies of the mini-spiders that suck your plant’s life’s blood.
Spiders have skin-like exoskeletons; the tissues are sensitive to change. Molecules soak though their pours, skin and orifices; thus, what may bother you – a giant living organism – might prove fatal to a spider the size of a pinhead. This is so when using a common group of proteins found in Nature. I will teach you how to naturally and inexpensively rid your plants of the dreaded spider mites.
The Habanera Pepper (sometimes pronounced Habenero) is the key ingredient in pepper spray. Once you make a batch of CALICLEAN you’ll see why. One may buy habanera peppers in any vegetable section for about 6 dollars a pound. The peppers are light orange to dark red, and are about the size of a bic lighter when fully mature, most are half that size. Go buy a pound, now!!! If you have mites, time is of the essence.
NOTICE: The spray you make is not harmful to humans (hab peppers are an ingredient in all really good south of the border salsas), but irritating to mucus membranes and soft tissues, it will make you cough – as its like breathing chili powder, so use care.
“GEE, MY PLANT LEAVES ARE DOTTED WITH WHITE SPOTS AND TURNING PALE OR YELLOW.”
If you have taken a powerful magnifying glass to the underside of your plant’s leaves you will have seen the little off-yellow dots with a brown center that move about slowly over the plant leafs and veins – the mature mites. These big mites leave web-strands like other spiders. Web strands between leaf and stems (as they cross back and forth to new vulnerable leaves), and between leaf serrations are indications of a healthy infestation and big mites on your plants. You may also have seen almost too-hard-to-see little brown dots crawling slowly about. These are the baby mites that will grow into big suckers. You may also have seen groups of little white dots near the central leaf brachiation and the main leaf veins. These are clutches of mite eggs. They will soon hatch and produce up to 80 mites per clutch, per mature mite. You are screwed if you do nothing. But fret not, you can save your plants, and they will recover and thrive – with diligence.
HERE IS WHAT TO DO
Making the Calicleaner
1.) Get a sauce pan – fill with one pint of water – put on lowest flame possible (do not boil !!!).
2.) Chop 4 -5 Habanera peppers fine. Chop open seeds and central membranes, as the power lies there.
3.) Simmer chopped peppers for 20 minutes – making sure not to boil (you will destroy the active proteins).
4.) When you put your head over the pan and the wispy-steam stings your eyes, the Calicleaner is ready.
5.) Pour the Calicleaner through a fine mesh strainer – a little fine grit is OK – let cool in a clean bowl.
6.) Pour room temperature contents in a mister spray bottle. Your are ready to apply.
HOW TO APPLY Calicleaner
1.) Put on gloves, and wear a mask, or at least put a bandana around your nose and mouth.
2.) Turn off all fans – you do not want this spray in your eyes!!!
3.) Spray the bottom of EVERY leaf – starting with the bottom leaves first, work up to the top.
4.) After the bottoms are done, hit the tops and the stems.
5.) Squirt liberally in new leaf pods – tightly wound new leaf growth (the small mites hide there).
6.) Get the heck out of the room till it clears.
7.) Repeat procedure with each plant.
8.) Spray the soil, the pots, and the floor or earth around the area to kill dropping mites and stop migration.
9.) Wash hands with soap and water when complete – the stuff will heat-up skin for 4 hours.
10.) DO NOT WORRY. Though the stuff is lethal to mites, the plants love it.
Congratulations! You have successfully killed the mites that you sprayed – on contact!. Plus, the mites are thwarted in biting again as they get a lethal dose of hot mouth. Your plants should be turning green again with in half a day. Though the leaves are scarred, they will recover and work again – producing vital sugars for growth.
However, you are not done. Some mites will escape the spray, though you have killed 95% of them. Thus, you will have to do the spray again tomorrow. As a matter of fact you will have to spray every 2-3 days till you see no more mites – usually up to two weeks. SOME EGGS WILL HATCH!!! Thus a week after the first spray, do a super job again, the baby mites are likely out and about. Kill ’em right away.
Use your magnifying glass to inspect each plant carefully, when nothing moves and you see no more webs, your plants are clear. YEAH!!
Additional precautions: make sure your containers and pots do not touch, mites migrate. Clean your floors and equipment so live mites do not return (spray them down with Caliclean). Since no person can kill every living mite in their situation, eternal diligence is now part of the equation. One mite may turn into a million in a month.
Other helpful hints: wash your plants with clean water spray between sprayings, this cleans off dead mites and eggs, and refreshes the plant leaf compromised by the vampire sucking mites. Keep the room cool, 78 degrees to 68 degrees if possible during treatment. Mites hate the cold – thus weakened mites will drop dead. If lower leaves are infested with eggs and mites – cut them off! DO NOT LEAVE CUTTINGS NEARBY! Burn or bury your cuttings far away.
Spraying notes: Mites tend to collect where the leaves join at the nexus and overlap. If you can, lay your plants on-end or position upsidedown (be real careful) to make sure all undersides are sprayed. Cut off curled leaves where they collect. If you’re a rich person you may make a full pound to ten gallons of water and dunk them – even better!!
The best part of using Calicleaner is you may use it always – even during flowering. As the solution is all natural, no one is harmed but the mites: “Nature to deal with Nature.” Your money goes to a farmer not a chemical corporation.
ok so this is a copy from another web site,,, i didnt make this up… just follwed the instructions as listed above…. and I am sold… works fantastic
I couldnt believe how quickly the mammas turned around in an afternoon.
Good luck to anyone with mite problems..as I have found this works well
A Natural Bug Repellent For Your Garden: Hot Pepper Wax
Talk about plants with a lot of uses.
Yes, chili peppers can be used as a natural bug repellent for your garden or indoor plants in the form of hot pepper wax. That’s a fact that not many people know. There are many varieties of sprayable hot pepper wax out on the market or you can make something similar yourself. It’s a safe (and edible) solution for your garden and house plants to keep away everything from aphids and whiteflies to spider mites and leaf hoppers.
How does hot pepper wax work?
It’s capsaicin again: the compound behind the spice in hot peppers. Capsaicin is an irritant to humans, but totally edible and incredibly enjoyable (for most of us!). That’s not the case for many types of insects. When sprayed with hot pepper wax, those insects will either be done in by the capsaicin itself or by the natural paraffin in the spray.
Is it safe to eat plants sprayed with hot pepper wax?
Capsaicin is 100% safe to eat, and so is food-grade paraffin wax and other food-grade ingredients used in commercial hot pepper wax sprays. Food-grade paraffin is used in many chocolate recipes as a way to bind the chocolate, so you’ve likely eaten it before without even realizing it.
Are there other benefits?
Yes, the paraffin itself not only helps kill unwanted insects, it also creates a micro-barrier around the sprayed plant which helps prevent water-loss. That makes for a much healthier plant across the board, especially for new plant transplants.
Hot pepper sprays like this can also be used as an animal repellent. If you have some pesky squirrels, wild rabbits, or deer around, the capsaicin will act as a deterrent to eating plants. It’s a deterrent, not a barrier, so it’s best to use with other tactics as well.
Note: hot pepper wax won’t work on repelling birds eating your plants. Birds are not effected by capsaicin in the way that other animals are, so the spray poses no problems for them.
Where can you buy hot pepper wax?
You can find it in some gardening stores, but it can be hit or miss whether they carry it. The better bet is to buy it online. For instance, there are quite a few varieties of commercial hot pepper wax available on Amazon.com.
Can you make your own?
Dealing with the paraffin may be more than most want to get into, but it’s pretty easy to make a hot pepper spray that’ll give you the same insect repelling abilities. Be careful, though, as you are dealing with some very hot peppers in the process and the liquid itself can irritate skin and eyes. Use gloves while making it, like you should whenever cooking with hot peppers. The steps:
- Buy six of the hottest chili peppers you can find. This will typically be habanero peppers or cayenne peppers.
- Fully blend the chili peppers with two cups of water.
- Let the mix steep for a day in a covered container.
- Strain the liquid using a paper coffee filter into a quart jar.
- Fill up the remaining space in the jar with water.
- Pour it into a spray bottle as necessary.
This is some potent stuff, so keep it away from kids and pets and be careful when spraying it. But it’ll do the trick as a natural insect repellent, just without the paraffin water-loss benefits. If you’ve been having insect issues, and you need a natural solution to use on your garden, this or any commercial version of hot pepper wax spray can definitely help!
Products from Amazon.com
- Price: $14.23
- -10% Price: $23.10 Was: $25.59
- Price: $14.47
Ask Ruth: Hot Pepper Spray
Share this post…
I recently moved to eastern TN from New Mexico/Colorado where many (organic) gardeners use capsaicin spray, powder, or oil from pepper plants (which you can buy easily there at most garden stores) as a good alternative to deter deer, rabbits, squirrels (and less effectively, gophers) from eating plants, and also as a general pest deterrent. I’ve spoken with a few people in the area but haven’t heard or seen it used in this region much. Do you have any more information regarding capsaicinoids and insect control?
Hot peppers (capsicum) are a New World plant originating from South America, probably in the region of southern Brazil to Bolivia. Some people can’t imagine enduring a meal without the spiciness of hot peppers. Hot pepper sauces like Tabasco® inspire legions of loyal followers, and hot pepper fanatics are always searching for the latest pepper with the hottest burn. Gardeners love the instant gratification of whipping up a fresh pepper salsa straight from the garden.
Despite the fact that many humans love hot peppers, capsaicnoids, the “heat” in peppers, is an irritant to mammals and insects. You could even say that (Michael Pollan style) as the hot pepper plant evolved, it favored its heat-producing qualities as a protection for its seed from mammals. Mammals tend to destroy the seed when they chew it, while hot pepper seeds can pass through a bird’s system and still germinate.
Peppers are rated by the Scoville Heat Index ~
Hot pepper spray is considered a deterrent to insects and mammals, rather than an insecticide. As you can imagine when a rabbit or an insect touches/bites into a leaf/fruit covered with a hot pepper spray, their immediate reaction would be to spit it out and discontinue eating that plant. Hot pepper would certainly be irritating to the insect’s body. Using the Scoville Units indicated above ~ I would conclude that the hotter the pepper used, the more effective the spray is liable to be. However, Jalapeño peppers should be sufficiently hot to do the job without intimidating the preparer. And Xanda, keep in mind that Colorado and New Mexico have drier climates with lower rainfall and scant humidity ~ therefore hot pepper sprays would linger longer on the plants undiluted and demonstrate more effectiveness in dry regions.
Before delving any deeper into this topic, it should be stated that extreme caution should always be exercised when handling hot peppers (whether for use as food or as an deterrent to plant damage). Always wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers. If you don’t wear gloves, the peppers will burn your hands. The seeds are the very hottest part of the plant. Be careful not to touch your eyes or any other mucous membranes when handling hot peppers. If you are blending the peppers, or cooking them on the stove, beware of the fumes in the air above the blender and in the steam above your pot. Speaking from experience, even something as relatively mild as Tabasco® will volatize in the steam and get in your eyes. When spraying your pepper mixture, don’t spray into the wind.
Local Farmer Feedback on using hot pepper spray:
I asked a few local farmers for their input on hot pepper sprays. A few had never used them at all, or responded like Vanessa Campbell of Full Sun Farm who said they “intuitively felt it didn’t work.”
Barry Rubenstein of B & L Organics said they don’t have rabbit problems, but that they had tried hot pepper spray to control flea beetles one season. They did not have good results, and someone suggested to him that he would have needed to spray almost daily to get good results.
Meredith McKissick of Sweet Earth Flower Farm (and OGS Director) had positive feedback: “I use hot pepper wax as a deterrent for leafhoppers. They are a vector for aster yellows, a common disease that can cripple crops of lettuce, dahlias and asters (among other things). Used in rotation with Pyganic I have found it very effective at keeping my dahlias in great condition and weekly sprays to asters and strawflowers have helped as well…I have never used it on lettuce as I am not sure the effect it would have on harvest of the greens.”
Patryk Battle of Sparkling Earth Farm received a bottle of Hot Pepper Wax at a SAC conference years ago and still hasn’t tried it. Several times Pat has “used homemade habanero spray to keep rabbits off my newly emerging legumes. I blend a habanero in a bit of water till it is liquefied. I leave the lid on the blender for at least 15 minutes to be sure no habanero is breathed in by anyone. I strain it and then spray it with enough water to effect coverage. I usually use a surfactant or at least soap to make it last a bit. Although others who have tried this have reported mixed results, I have always stopped my rabbit problems first try. However I have always applied early ~ usually after the first sign of predation on my legumes.”
Reports on hot peppers as a deterrent are mixed. Rodale’s Chemical-free Yard & Garden states that “…Researchers have found that as little as 1/25 ounce of capsaicin sprinkled around an onion plant reduced the number of onion maggot eggs laid around the plant by 75%, compared to a control plant. Purdue University Extension’s Organic Vegetable Production researchers found that plant extract repellent products (such as hot pepper wax) “work poorly if at all, and we generally do not recommend them.” In a Cornell University test on broccoli transplants, Hot Pepper Wax was found to be as effective as Rotenone 5% on controlling flea beetles (this test was on transplants only and not a field test on larger plants). According to Clemson University, capsaicin can be used on ornamentals ~ outdoors and indoors ~ for control of aphids, spider mites, thrips, whitefly, lace bugs, leafhoppers, and other pests…they appear to be effective at repelling certain animal pests such as rabbits, deer and squirrels. University of Massachusetts-Amherst Extension points out that Hot Pepper Wax is no longer allowable for Certified Organic growers. The National Organic Program allows capsaicin, the active ingredient in Hot Pepper Wax; but does not allow the wax in current use.
(photo at left: Commercially Available Hot Pepper Preparation.)
Hot Pepper Sprays may target: rabbits, squirrels, deer, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, cabbage loopers, beet armyworms, leafhoppers, and other soft-bodied insects that feed on the leaves, flowers, fruit and stems of plants. It seems to deter squirrels and rabbits better than deer.
Other Cautions: Some plants are extra-sensitive to pepper spray, such as basil, parsley, peppermint, African violets with variegated leaves, fruit trees in the pink-bud stage, and Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exemia). It is best to test your spray on a small area of plant material before applying to the entire crop. Hot pepper spray should be applied in the evening so it has all night to dry before the suns rays hit the plant in the morning. Spray the entire plant, paying special attention to the undersides of leaves. If you are using Hot Pepper Wax, the cool evening temperatures will allow the wax to harden on the plant overnight (and become transparent.) Remember that hot pepper spray will not protect new growth, and can also be harmful to beneficial insects. There is a zero hour re-entry after spraying hot pepper. Even though hot pepper wax washes off easily with warm water, some plants ~ like lettuce ~ may wilt when washed with warm water.
How often to spray: Reports differed substantially on this question ~ from repeat after rain, dew, or heavy humidity; to repeat every few days; to repeat in 7 to 10 days; to lasts up to 30 days. The wax product will probably last longest…up to 30 days. If you are making your own spray without wax, add dish soap or a surfactant to encourage the hot pepper to stick on the plant longer.
Homemade Hot Pepper Spray Recipe:
Remember to use rubber gloves and caution when handling hot peppers (see above).
- 5-10 Hot Peppers depending on size (from your garden or the market, or substitute powdered cayenne pepper)
- 1 teaspoon pure Soap (dish soap is OK, but not detergent types)
- 1 tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
- 6 or more cloves of Garlic (Optional)
- 1/2 gallon Water, or up to 1 gallon (use 2-3 cups in blender)
Put ingredients in the blender. Add 2-3 cups water. Blend thoroughly until liquefied, adding more water if necessary. Let stand one hour. Liquefy again. Let mixture sit until fumes have settled. Strain (through cheesecloth, coffee filter, paper towel). Dilute with additional water and spray on plants in the evening (using caution at all times when handling the material and during sprayer clean-up). Extra material can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Xanda ~ welcome to the southern Appalachians and good luck with your gardening efforts in this area.
Ask Ruth © 2013 Ruth Gonzalez & Organic Growers School
Gardeners: Got a question for Ruth? Email it to us at
Author: Ruth Gonzalez
Ruth Gonzalez is a former market farmer, gardener, and local food advocate who wants to see organic farms proliferate and organic gardens in every yard. She serves on the Organic Growers School Board of Directors, and in her job at Reems Creek Nursery, Ruth offers advice on all sorts of gardening questions, and benefits daily from the wisdom of local gardeners.
Cayenne pepper or liquid hot sauce as a deer repellent
There are many homemade deer repellent recipes that contain cayenne pepper and hot sauces, the one drawback is that they wash off when it rains or the plant is hit with a sprinkler. After that it is a race between you and your repellent and the deer: who gets there first. A quick internet search will get you all kinds of recipes. These are taste repellents which means the deer will take a bite before they understand they don’t like it. If you have many deer this is a problem: that is a lot of “bites.”
I personally prefer the commercial repellents: Bobbex, Liquid Fence, Plant Skyyd, etc. Most of these contain a surfactant that will not wash off with rain and will last 30-60 days. Most of these are a “smell” repellent containing a “rotten eggs” odor. They are organic These means that the smell repels the deer and they won’t take a bite of your plant.
Deer are habit feeders; they have a set feeding pattern through areas where they know there is something to eat. They require so much green (5 pounds a day for a healthy deer) that they don’t have time to go into yards with nothing to eat. The trick, then is to break the feeding pattern through your yard. It is my experience that the commercial products do this very well.
What I do is not only spray the plants but spray around them as well so as to create an area of odor that the deer don’t like and therefore avoid it, They may still walk through, but they won’t dine on your plants.
Believe it or not you can use the repellents in the winter. I sprayed my azaleas and rhododendrons during the last warm snap.
One other tip: start using the repellents early in the spring and keep up with the new growth.
Cats can be charming and friendly… yet a disaster in the garden!
You just love your cat! He (or she) is smart and affectionate and would never hurt a fly, let alone a garden. But the neighbor’s cat, that’s a different story. The @*&#! thing has decided your garden is it’s personal litter box. And your other neighbor feeds stray cats and attracts dozens to the neighborhood where they spray your plants with stinky urine, defecate in your garden, and dig up your beds. What can you do?
Fortunately, there are several tricks you can use to keep cats away from a yard. Here are a few:
- Keep the animals’ favorite litter spot moist by repeatedly watering it: cats hate getting their paws wet.
- Cover the soil with chicken wire. Cats won’t be able to dig into the soil and in fact won’t even walk on it, yet plants can grow through the mesh.
- Cover the soil with a rough or even prickly mulch: bark mulch, pinecones, spruce branches, rose trimmings, gravel, etc. They’ll keep cats away.
- Apply dog hair to the spot (kitty won’t be happy with that!). If you don’t have a pooch, ask a dog grooming salon for a few handfuls. Human hair will work too… on feral cats. Domestic cats, though, are not bothered by human odors.
- Apply citrus peels to the soil. Kitties will avoid them.
Barriers that poke out of the ground will keep cats at bay.
- Stick coffee stirrers, bamboo skewers, or plastic forks (pointy side up) about 8 inches (20 cm) apart in the soil of the cat’s favorite litter area. This will make things very uncomfortable for Puss.
The Piss-off Plant won’t actually repel cats at all.
- Some plants have the reputation of being able to repel cats. This is particularly the case of rue (Ruta graveolens), lavender (Lavandula spp.), pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), absinthe (Artemisia absinthium), lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and Piss-off Plant™ (Coleus canina, now Plectranthus caninus, also sold under names Scaredy Cat™, Dog’s Gone™ or Bunnies Gone™). Be forewarned though that some cats seem fairly indifferent to plant odors: you may have to test several plants to find one that works in your situation. And very honestly, the so-called Piss-off Plant (P. caninus) has a terrible reputation among gardeners. In fact, serious studies show it simply doesn’t work.
- Use a commercial animal repellent, which can be coyote urine or the urine of some other predator, rotten eggs, or a mixture of various repellent products. You can spray it on the soil or on the surrounding plants or structures. You’ll have to spray repeatedly (read the instructions for the recommended frequency of application), as they wear off. Sometimes you have to try several repellents before finding one that works well.
- Surround the garden with fencing. This is an expensive solution, but if you have to protect an entire garden from feral cats, it may be the best choice. Use chicken wire, plastic mesh or chain link fence on metal or plastic posts (cats will climb wooden ones). The fence should be at least 7 feet (2 m) high and buried at the base (the cats won’t hesitate to dig to reach their favorite garden). An electric fence is another possibility.
- Install an ultrasound repulsive device. These seem to work with most cats at first, but most cats eventually get used to it, so it may only be a temporary solution.
The Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler is very effective at chasing cats from gardens.
- Use a motion-activated sprinkler. Just attach it to a hose and point it towards the garden in question. The next time the cat saunters by, it’ll be greeted with a spray of water, the ultimate insult for kitties! This method seems completely effective, but the device is quite pricey. Two models I know of are the Scarecrow by Contech and Spray Away by Havahart.
Methods to Avoid
On the Internet, you’ll find dozens of other methods for keeping cats away from your garden, some effective, some slightly so, and many a waste of time, but there are a few you should simply avoid. Here are some examples:
Mothballs are toxic products and have no place in the garden.
Placing mothballs in the garden. Their odor is said to repel cats (that in itself is debatable), but the real problem is that they contain naphthalene, a toxic product. Some cats, far from being repelled, eat the mothballs and make themselves sick. Some even die. Also, children may mistake them for candy.
The same applies to dryer sheets (Bounce, Snuggle, etc.), also sometimes recommended for keeping cats away. Some cats chew or play with them and make themselves sick.
Another product that is supposed to repel cats (again, very debatable), but can poison them instead is ammonia. Especially don’t put out a dish of ammonia: some cats are actually attracted to ammonia and may poison themselves by drinking it.
One of the most horrifying means of repelling cats is sprinkling the ground with cayenne pepper. It’s not only ineffective (cats are not repulsed by cayenne pepper and in fact, don’t even seem to notice it’s there), but it’s downright nasty. The cat’s paws pick up the powder, then, when it licks itself to clean up, it will be in serious pain. The pain will be worse if the pepper gets it in its eyes. And when swallowed, cayenne pepper can cause severe intestinal distress in cats. Too many cats end up at the vet’s after coming into contact with this product.
Finally, it is sometimes said that applying coffee grounds to the soil will repel cats. While coffee grounds aren’t harmful to cats, using them this way is a waste of time. Most cats are indifferent to coffee grounds while others are actually attracted to the stuff. Just put your coffee grounds in the compost bin, where they really belong!
If there is one concoction that has helped in our battle against pests in the garden and flowerbeds, it is homemade hot pepper spray!
It can simply work wonders when it comes to keeping rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and yes, even deer at bay.
Sometimes, even the cutest of animals can become a nuisance. Those cute bunnies playing in the yard also love to nibble on tender young bean plants in the garden.
And the tiny chipmunks might look adorable running along the fence. Until of course they start digging up newly transplanted flowers!
“Hey, avoid those plants over there, they are HOT!”
Short of fencing off and covering every square inch of your property, it can be difficult to keep pests at bay. And for us, that is where hot peppers, and hot pepper spray really helps the cause.
We have used hot peppers for years to help protect our gardens and flowerbeds.
Each year, we plant the hottest of our hot peppers on the outer rows of the garden as a barrier.
We also mix in a planting of ornamental hot peppers in our flowerbeds.
Not only do they provide incredible color to the landscape, they also help protect plants around them.
As crazy as it sounds, simply planting the hot pepper plants really does keep most damage at bay.
Almost every single year, we will see small nibbles at first on the hot pepper plants and peppers, and then suddenly, nothing. See : Growing Ornamental and Hot Peppers In The Landscape.
Hot peppers in the landscape can add beauty and protection
But occasionally, a group of pests seem intent on wanting to destroy a new planting. Most recently, it was a few choice rabbits helping themselves to the foliage of week-old bean plants.
And that called for a little added protection with our homemade hot pepper spray!
It is so simple and inexpensive to make, and works wonders in repelling pests when applied to the foliage of plants in the garden and landscape.
Homemade Hot Pepper Spray Recipe
This recipe is for a single gallon of mix. To make more or less, you can simply adjust the ingredients to the same ratio of peppers.
1 gallon of water
10 hot peppers chopped finely.
We use whatever hot peppers we might have on hand. Cayenne and our Chinese 5 Color Ornamental are two of our favorites, but Jalapeno, Ghost, and other hot peppers will work.
4 to 5 Tablespoons of hot pepper flakes (If not using fresh) Crushed Hot Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Add the peppers and water into a pan and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Heating the liquid helps to release and infuse the oils from the hot peppers.
Let the mixture sit for about 24 hours. Strain the peppers out, and add in the teaspoon of olive oil.
This will help the mixture stick to the plants when sprayed. You can also use a few drops of mild dish detergent, but we prefer to keep it natural with olive oil.
Applying The Mixture
Place the mixture into a small pump sprayer and apply to the foliage of plants. We use a small hand-held sprayer with good success.
It is best to apply in the early morning or late evening when the sun is not beating down on the plants. Product Links : Chapin Hand Held Pump Sprayer
Re-apply every 3 to 5 days to keep plants protected. Re-apply after rain or watering as well to keep the foliage coated with the hot taste of the pepper spray.
Crushed Red Peppers ready to give off a little heat!
Remember to use gloves when working with both the hot peppers and hot pepper spray. It will burn if you get it in your eyes – so spray with caution.
If using on vegetables that will be picked within a day or two,be sure to rinse off any of the hot pepper residue before consuming.
The best part of homemade hot pepper spray is the cost. If you grow your own peppers, you can of course make it for free.
But even if you have to purchase a few peppers at the farmers market, or a little ground cayenne at the store, you can make it for pennies on the dollar.
Here’s to adding a little spice to your landscape – and keeping pests at bay!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.
Homemade Hot Pepper Spray – Repelling Pests Naturally In The Garden! Tagged on: animal repellent DIY hot pepper spray homemade hot pepper spray hot pepper spray insect repellent
I do love to garden, but there are a few pests out there I can do without.
Even though I use many natural pest deterrent practices like companion planting, there are a few tenacious little creatures that will stop at nothing to get to my delicious fruits and veggies.
A natural, yet effective way to keep pests out of your garden is to use hot peppers. Capsaicin, the same chemical in peppers that give it that heat, is an irritant to mammals and some insects.
Now, I will add that hot pepper spray is considered a deterrent to insects and mammals, rather than an insecticide.
Meaning, it won’t kill nasty bugs like squash bugs, aphids, or Japanese bean beetles. It will irritate some soft body insects, but won’t necessarily eradicate them.
However, hot pepper spray is effective in deterring mammals from the garden, like rabbits, squirrels, and deer.
They may seem cute, but they can destroy a garden quickly. Even though the peppers deter the animals, it will not hurt them.
The addition of garlic to this recipe also helps to boost the insect repelling properties of this spray. Garlic has been shown to be useful for deterring aphids, ants, beetles, caterpillars, slugs, whiteflies and more.
Related Reading: How To Make Organic Pesticides – 10 Recipes That Really Work
How To Make A Garlic Hot Pepper Pest Spray
- 6-7 hot peppers (any type will do)
- 1 head of fresh garlic
- 5-quart bucket
- 5 quarts of water
- 3 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap
- 3-gallon garden sprayer
Watch the video to see how I made this Hot Pepper & Garlic Pest Spray and then continue below to see the full step by step photos and written instructions.
Any hot pepper will work for this project. In theory, the higher the Scoville Heat Index, the more effective.
I used jalapenos because that’s what I have growing in the garden at the moment.
Be sure to wear gloves when handling any type of chili pepper. The capsaicin oils will stay on your skin even after washing and can cause irritation, so it’s best to protect your skin before you handle the peppers.
The seeds and white membrane are the very hottest part of the plant.
Chop the hot peppers into smaller pieces and add it to the bucket. Break apart the head of garlic and chop it into smaller pieces and add to it to the bucket.
Pour enough water into the bucket to fill it to almost the top. Let it sit overnight (12-24 hours).
Once the mixture has set overnight, strain it through a strainer and into a garden sprayer. This is the one I use.
Add three tablespoons of Castile soap. The soap will help the spray stick to the plants and will also act as an insecticidal soap to help get rid of some insects such as aphids.
How Often To Spray
Spray plants as needed. Repeat after rain, dew, or heavy humidity. When spraying your pepper mixture, don’t spray into the wind.
I sometimes need to spray my herbs and vegetables to combat pests, but I’m not comfortable using a pesticide on plants that my family and I eat. What is a safe alternative?
I can understand your concern and one product I like to use is hot-pepper spray. This product combines paraffin wax and other ingredients with capsaicin, a chemical naturally found in peppers that makes them hot. When sprayed directly on plants and foliage, the wax lightly coats it and holds the hot spray in place. I find this to be an effective and organic way of dealing with certain pests in the garden, like leafhoppers, spider mites, and whiteflies, just to name a few.
When you use this product, you certainly want to keep it away from children, and you don’t want to get any of it in your eyes because it can really burn. But don’t be afraid to spray it directly on the produce in your garden. You see, it washes off with just a little warm water.
Hot pepper spray is available from many organic garden supply companies such as Gardeners Supply Company and Gardens Alive or you can mix your own at home. To make the homemade version, simply puree two large cayenne peppers in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree to remove any seeds or solids. Add the strained puree to 1 gallon of water. When you are ready to spray, dilute 1/4 cup of the hot pepper concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Instead of paraffin, to help the spray adhere to the leaves add about 1/4 tablespoon of dishwashing soap. When working with hot peppers it is important to wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face and eyes.
If you are looking for an all-natural method to deter rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and more – it might be time to try your hand using homemade hot pepper spray!
Hot pepper spray has been used for decades by organic gardeners as a natural solution for repelling pests.
Whether keeping deer from devouring apples from an apple tree, or squirrels from digging up flowers, it can be quite the effective deterrent.
It is applied as a liquid spray to the foliage of plants in gardens and flowerbeds.
Squirrels and chipmunks can wreak havoc on flowerbeds and container plants. But hot pepper spray can be an effective way to keep them clear of your plants.
As the hot residue dries, it coats the leaves in a spicy hot concoction. And that concoction is anything but appealing to their taste buds!
But for the gardener, it is an all-natural, and much safer alternative to spraying chemicals that can be harmful when ingested or inhaled.
It also will not kill off many of the beneficial insects that are needed in the landscape. ( See : 4 Beneficial Insects To Attract To The Garden)
Let’s take a look at how to apply the spray, and a simple recipe to make your own liquid deterrent at home.
Using Hot Pepper Spray In Gardens And Flowerbeds
The key to using hot pepper spray is to keep the plants consistently covered in the spicy coating.
As soon as the solution is diluted or rinsed with water, it loses its effectiveness.
The seeds and pulp of cayenne peppers make for an effective spray.
That means you need to re-apply every three to four days to protect plants. And of course, after every time it rains or you water.
Always spray with caution and when the wind is minimal.
Hot pepper spray will burn if you get it in your eyes or on your hands, so using caution and wearing rubber gloves and eye protection is a must.
Also, if using on any edible crops that you are about to harvest, be sure to wash the vegetables with water to rinse off any of the hot pepper residue.
If not, it might make for a spicy dinner!
How To Apply
For small spaces or container plants, a small spray bottle works best. For larger areas, a pump sprayer or back-pack sprayer is an excellent choice.
The best time to apply is early in the evening. That way, the foliage is dry and can easily absorb the spray.
The spray can be applied with a hand held bottle sprayer, or a pump sprayer for larger spaces.
In addition, most insects like to come out to eat in the overnight hours, so spraying later is more effective for control.
To apply, simply spray an even coat of the mixture over the foliage.
Be sure to spray as much of the underside of plants as possible too. It is here where smaller pests love to hang out.
Pepper spray can be made from either fresh or dried hot peppers, or even hot pepper powder or flakes.
The recipe below uses hot cayenne peppers, but any hot pepper will work. And the hotter the better.
- 1 gallon of water
- 10 Cayenne peppers chopped finely ( Food processors work great)
If fresh peppers are not available – substitute with 3 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes.
There are some great hot pepper grinds on the market that work well for making homemade hot pepper spray. See : Spicy World Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Heating the peppers and seeds up helps to release the oils for a hotter solution.
Simmer the chopped peppers or flakes for about 10 minutes to heat the flesh and seeds up a bit.
Heating helps the release the oils from the skins and seeds of the peppers, and creates a more potent spray.
Add into the water and stir or shake.
Let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours to absorb the hot pepper flakes, and then strain for a clear, hot liquid.
Add a few drops of natural biodegradable dish soap or olive oil to the liquid mixture before spraying. This will aid in the mixture adhering to the foliage.
Now all that is left is to spray!
This Is My Garden
This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, publishing two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. This article may contain affiliate links.