When pests strike, turning to pesticides can often be the first thought. However, pesticides can do almost as much harm as good unless you’re using neem oil.
For example, pests that survive a pesticide attack will begin developing a resistance to that pesticide. Not only can this create superbugs, but the only way to prevent this is if you rotate between two or more pesticides, so it’s harder for them to adapt.
But this costs a lot of money, and overusing pesticides can affect the soil quality and harm your plants.
What if we told you that there are cheap home remedies out there that actually work?
Take, for example, hot pepper spray. This simple remedy can not only repel a variety of insects, arachnids, and even rodent pests, but it’s known even to kill some bugs on contact.
Let’s look at how you can make and use your own homemade hot pepper spray.
How To Make A Hot Pepper Spray For Plants
While no remedy (chemical or homemade) is 100% percent guaranteed to work, hot pepper sprays remain a popular choice for home gardens.
But what makes this remedy stand out from so many others?
Why Choose Hot Peppers?
All peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which produces their heat. You won’t notice it in bell peppers due to how little is present, but hot peppers can contain quite a bit.
From relatively mild jalapenos and banana peppers to the mighty Carolina reaper, hot peppers can make you break a sweat and run for a drink.
But it does far more to smaller creatures such as bugs or even rabbits. The capsaicin irritates when in contact and makes eating your veggies unpleasant for hungry rodents.
It can not only help in repelling bugs but has also been known to kill some on contact.
Best of all, these sprays are safe and non-toxic, and you can simply rinse the residue from your produce before eating.
A Word About Soap
Before we go further, however, it’s important to discuss the use of soap in the following recipes.
Soap is used to create an emulsion by breaking the surface tension of water. This makes it easier to blend in oils.
It also acts as an adhesive, ensuring the pepper spray sticks to your plants once the water evaporates.
The only downside is that some plants can be sensitive to soap and may have a reaction.
We recommend you only use Dawn dish soap or pure castile soap for these recipes, as they’re the safest options and are least likely to harm your plants.
Also, be sure to always test a small part of the plant 24 hours before applying any organic or chemical pesticide to ensure there’s no sensitivity.
The following recipes are all variations on a theme, requiring only three ingredients.
Afterward, we’ll cover some additional things you can add to these recipes to increase their potency.
Ground Cayenne Recipe
Create an emulsion with the following:
- 1 tablespoon of soap mixed into a gallon of water
- Mix in 2 tablespoons of ground cayenne pepper
This mixture will last for up to a week in the fridge, although its potency will lessen over time.
Fresh Hot Pepper Recipe
- Finely chop 10 hot peppers and simmer them for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour in a gallon of water and return to simmering for 30 to 45 more minutes,
- Remove the pot from heat and allow it to sit covered for 24 hours.
- Once the mixture has fully steeped, pour it through a strainer to remove the solids and add 4 to 5 drops of soap.
While more expensive and time-consuming than the cayenne pepper recipe, this mixture will remain viable for as long as 3 months when refrigerated.
Red Pepper Flake Recipe
This simple recipe is nearly identical to the cayenne pepper recipe, and only you will use 3 to 5 tablespoons of red pepper flakes instead of cayenne powder.
NOTE: You may need to strain the flakes before use, depending on the type of spray bottle you’re using.
Consider Additional Ingredients
While the above recipes will work well independently, many people like adding additional ingredients.
For example, including 10 crushed garlic cloves with the fresh chopped peppers in the second recipe can work even better as a repellent.
Related: How To Make A Garden Garlic Spray
Garlic also works well with the other recipes, either in powder or minced form.
Essential oils are also highly popular, especially peppermint oil.
The scents of these oils are attractive to humans, but pests absolutely hate them.
On a similar note, you can steep fresh lemon peel or add citrus oil to your recipes to repel mosquitoes and many other pests.
Using Your Hot Pepper Spray
It’s best to spray your plants early in the morning.
This reduces the risk of hurting beneficial insects and gives the leaves time to dry before the sun gets too hot.
Be sure to spray all the leaves on the top and bottom and the stems.
You can also spray the fruit or produce, but you’ll want to avoid spraying blooms when possible.
Repeat every 3 to 4 days and after it rains for the best results.