Most peppers contain capsaicin, a substance known to repel insects and animals (including people). There are other plants that contain capsaicin as well such as ginger. Hot peppers are by far the easiest source though. They help in against mammals and soft bodied insects in the garden,
Peppers can be used as both a powder and a spray and each technique has its advantages and disadvantages.
As a powder it works great when "diluted" with diatomaceous earth against many insects. On days that are not incredibly windy the power works wonders repelling small mammals as the pepper agitates their mucous membranes (especially the eyes). However once it falls to the ground the protection offered against mammals is greatly diminished (but it keeps working on insects near the ground). Also the dust is much less likely to harm sensitive plants, thus it can be used in the heat of the day (non-humid). The largest negative to the powder is that it is much harder to control and much easier to have it effect your mucous membranes. Wear eye and respiratory protection when dusting and working in the freshly dusted area.
The spray works best against insects and stays on the plant longer... especially is mixed using a small amount of sticky substance (molasses). The spray can also irritate you and you should wear protection and make sure you don't touch a surface and rub your eyes. In heavily foliaged areas the spray still works decently well on mammals.
Pepper Dusting Powder:
Completely dry some hot peppers. Grind them as fine as you can. I do enough to where I can put them in a blender and put it on high to make a "pepper flour". DON'T open the blender until the dust has settled... ouch. Use full strength by sprinkling where you want it or Mix with another substance to dilute. You can make a great combo by mixing 5% pepper powder, 90% diatomaceous earth, and 5% pyrethrum powder.
Making the Pepper Spray:
How to use pepper Spray:
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