If you are looking for an all-natural method for deterring rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and a whole host of other pests from damaging your plants – you need to make and use hot pepper spray!
Hot pepper spray has been used for decades by organic farms and gardeners as a natural solution for repelling pests. Not only is it 100 percent organic, it can also be made quite easily from readily found ingredients. Even better – quite inexpensively too!
But perhaps best of all, whether keeping deer from devouring apples or squirrels from digging up flowers, it can be quite an effective deterrent when made and used properly.
For gardeners, hot pepper spray is an all-natural and safer alternative to spraying pesticides. Pesticides that can not only be harmful when ingested or inhaled, but can also kill off many beneficial insects like bees and butterflies that are needed for pollination.
Here is a look at how hot pepper spray works, and when and how to apply it. Even better, we have included a great recipe at the end of your article for making it right at home – whether you have fresh hot peppers or not!
Using Hot Pepper Spray – The Basics
How Hot Pepper Spray Works
Hot pepper spray works as a natural deterrent by coating plants in a blistering coating of heat. It is applied as a liquid spray to the foliage of plants in gardens and flowerbeds.
As the hot residue dries, it coats the leaves in a spicy hot layer of heat. And when pests begin to dine on the foliage, it is anything but appealing to their taste buds! In fact, it usually sends them scurrying far away.
For most pests, hot pepper spray is a deterrent and not an insecticide. But there applications where the liquid will not only repel insects, but actually kill them off.
Two of the best examples are spider mites and cabbage worms. When applied to plants affected by these two pests, it can actually stop them in their tracks by killing them off.
How To Use Hot Pepper Spray In Gardens And Flowerbeds
Hot pepper spray can be applied to specific plants or small areas with a simple hand-held spray bottle. For larger applications (entire gardens / large trees & shrubs) you can spray with a large tank or backpack sprayer.
The key to using hot pepper spray is to keep the plants consistently covered in the spicy coating. Unfortunately, when it rains or when you water, it will lose its effectiveness.
In addition, heavy dew each morning can dilute and wash off the coating as well after a few days. That means you will need to re-apply every three to four days to protect plants. And of course, after every time it rains or you water.
When To Spray
Hot pepper spray will burn if you get it in your eyes or on your hands. Always spray with caution and when wind is minimal. In addition wear rubber gloves and eye protection when mixing and applying the solution.
When using on edible crops that are close to harvesting, always wash vegetables thoroughly with water to rinse off any of the hot pepper residue. If not, it can make for quite the 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 the better excellent choice.
The best time to apply is early in the evening. This way, the foliage is dry and easily absorbs the spray. In addition, most insects like to come out to eat in the overnight hours, so spraying later is more effective for control.
If you cannot spray early in the evening, mid-morning after the dew has dried is the next best time. Avoid spraying in the heat of the day because the mixture and sun can burn plant foliage.
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.
Now here is a look at a great all-purpose hot pepper spray recipe made with cayenne peppers. Although most hot peppers will provide protection, cayenne has long been known to be one of the most effective of all peppers.
Homemade Hot Pepper Spray Recipe
You can create hot pepper spray from either fresh or dried hot peppers, or even hot pepper powder or flakes.
The recipe below uses hot cayenne peppers, but if you are unable to find them, jalapeno, serrano and other hot varieties can be substituted. Again, always be sure to protect your eyes and hands when creating the mixture.
- 1 gallon of water
- 10 Cayenne peppers chopped finely (a food processor works great for this task)
- 6 cloves of garlic (optional)
If fresh peppers are not available, you can substitute with 5 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes or 2 tablespoons of powder. There are some excellent pepper products on the market that are perfect for making homemade hot pepper spray. Product Link : Dried Cayenne Peppers
Garlic is an optional ingredient, but it will help to repel additional insects when allowed to soak in the mixture. When using garlic, crush or mince the cloves to allow it to absorb in the water.
Heating Up The Mix
Simmer the chopped peppers or flakes and garlic for about 10 minutes to heat the flesh and seeds up a bit. Heating helps release the oils from the skins and seeds of the peppers, and creates a more potent spray.
Next, add in the water and stir. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes. Again, heating the water with the peppers helps to infuse the heat into the liquid.
Take off of the heat and allow the mixture sit for at least 24 hours to absorb the hot pepper flakes. Finish by straining through a colander or cloth.
As you place the mixture into the sprayer, add a few drops of natural biodegradable dish soap or olive oil to the liquid before spraying. The oil will help the mixture adhere to the foliage in a more consistent manner.
You are ready to spray! Here is to protecting your vegetable plants and flowers by using hot pepper spray this year.
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