Turn Up the Heat to Keep Your Garden Pest-Free

using-cayenne-to-protect-plants-from-garden-pestsCayenne pepper is one good way to keep pests out of the garden. We had rats that used to strip our macadamia nut trees before we ever got to harvest a nut for ourselves. I had some habanero tincture that I had made by soaking some ripe habanero peppers in alcohol for a couple of weeks. I mixed the tincture and some lanolin and added some cayenne pepper to make a super hot rat deterrent. I have heard of people using cayenne to keep cats out of their house plants too.

I don’t think the quantities really matter, so there is no “recipe.” I smeared this hot mess on the trunks and branches of the macadamia nut trees and I never saw another rat. I think they all headed for the nearest river with their tongues hanging out!

You recently mentioned a lady by the name of Eileen in Naples, FL who had an escaped bearded dragon eating all of her garden crops. I think that this cayenne solution might do the trick for that reptile pest, if no one is able to catch it. She could sprinkle hot cayenne pepper onto her various plants, and that should help to keep the lizard away. It might eat some of the plants before it learns its lesson, but I would be highly surprised if it came back for a second dose.

Before you serve produce that has been treated with cayenne pepper, you just need to wash it off with soap.

Thanks to Pam Blowers for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest. We have over $1,500 in prizes lined up for the current writing contest, with more to come. Here is a list of the current pot of prizes:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $380 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $279 value
– 1 year of free membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $240 value
– A copy of The Summer of Survival Complete Collection from Life Changes Be Ready, a $127 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $60 each
– The complete 2014 Grow Your Own Food Summit interview series, a $47 value
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $42 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $40 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $32 each

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  • Great story on a practical, non-toxic solution to pests in the garden. I will remember this. Thank-you!

  • dianne says:

    Although cayenne or hot pepper treatments will keep animals away; you must consider the danger to the animal. They used to sell bird seed coated with cayenne to deter squirrels until they discovered the squirrels were scratching their eyes out from the irritation. Animals can’t wash their eyes or flush the irritation out; so they scratch until they bleed and damage their eyes with no relief.

  • dianne says:

    Instead of cayenne, a safer choice is to use garlic. If you mash up garlic with water and add a bit of dishsoap; spray this on all your vegetables. It will discourage rabbits, deer, and other critters who do not like the taste of garlic.

  • Bonnie says:

    I have been using cayenne pepper for years. I just shake it around plants and then sprinkle some on the plant. It keeps all kinds of animals and insects away. Remember, if it rains you need to reapply.

  • Hal Hurst says:

    Just for your information, I learned recently that the irritant capsaicin found in peppers doesn’t bother birds. About reptiles, I don’t know. But since birds are more closely relted to reptiles than mammals, I wouldn’t be surprised if reptiles also were immune. So don’t bet the farm on the bearded dragon being deterred by habanero treatment until you can confirm or rule this out.

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Hal – I did a little searching before we published this, but I didn’t find any authoritative source about lizards and hot sauce… I know many people use this method for other critters. And I know many other people object, because they believe it’s inhumane to the critters.

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