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.
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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.
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.
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.
Homemade Hot Pepper Spray Recipe
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
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!
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