Hot pepper spray, typically made with cayenne pepper and garlic, has become an increasingly popular natural pesticide. It is believed to repel all manner of pests, including caterpillars, aphids, and Japanese beetles. Pepper sprays are also thought to repel wildlife such as deer, squirrels and rabbits, and cure common plant diseases such as powdery mildew and blight.
Ingredients and Equipment
The two primary ingredients used to make hot pepper spray are garlic and cayenne pepper. You'll need two medium sized bulbs of garlic and four large cayenne peppers, either fresh or dried. Mineral oil, hot water and natural liquid soap are also required. Mineral oil can be found in your local drug store or hardware store, and natural liquid soap can be found in natural health stores. Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap is one such brand, but any type available may be used. You'll also need some common kitchen equipment, including a blender, cheesecloth, rubber gloves, a pint-sized canning jar with lid for storage and a spray bottle for application. It's best to use a blender that will not be used for food preparation. However, if you don't have a spare blender, make sure to wash thoroughly to remove any mineral oil residue before using again. If cheesecloth is not available, you can use nylon pantyhose to strain the liquid.
Making Hot Pepper Spray
Coarsely chop the four garlic cloves, leaving the peel intact. Place them in a blender with the cayenne peppers. Add 2 tbsp. of mineral oil, 2 cups hot water and 3 tsp. of natural liquid soap. Place the lid on the blender and process on high speed for two to three minutes, or until pureed. Allow the hot pepper spray mixture to stand overnight, which will increase the heat and effectiveness of the solution.
In the morning, put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. This mixture can irritate the skin, so be careful while handling. Strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth (or nylon pantyhose) into a glass pint-sized canning jar. Secure the lid tightly and store in a cool, dry place for up to 90 days.
Using Hot Pepper Spray
To use, measure 1/4 cup of the mixture and transfer to a clean spray bottle. Add about 5 cups of water and shake well to combine. Spray directly onto plants as necessary, being careful not to get any of the liquid on your skin. It's a good idea to wear gloves any time you are handling the hot pepper spray. You can make a larger batch to use in a garden sprayer for larger pest problems. Just stick to the formula above of 1/4 cup of solution to every five cups of water.