What hot pepper to repel squirrels?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Has anyone had luck with using ground or sprayed hot peppers or cayenne pepper to repel squirrels or slugs or cats?

Any suggestion for types of peppers or application methods?
If I grind up a spray, sould I add vinegar or alchol in the blender to mobilize the active ingredients?
Either extra-hot or extra-smelly? I would probably apply a dust dry, but some areas get rained on often.
Grind it fine or coarse?

This year I'll buy a big bag of Szechuan or Mexican hot peppers, but next year want to grow my own crop of the best variety for chemical warfare.

I'm about to plant some bulbs, but any time I turn and rake the soil, it looks like a catbox within a day, dug full of holes. I think this is squirrels rather than cats (but we have lots of both, and armies of slugs).

Should I bury lots of pepper dust or chunks with the bulbs, or keep re-applying it to the surface?

Would I need to re-apply pepper dust or spray every time it rains (almost every day)?
Is it even effective, or just an urban myth?
I was hoping that is capsicum can deter muggers, it might have a chance against my tree rats.

I also just bought 50' of chicken wire (hex netting). I just hope the squirrels have enough other food sources that they won't chew right through the wire netting. If it's netting plus hot pepper, maybe they will harass my neighbors first.

I've heard good things about Liquid Fence, but re-applying that every time it rains will get expensive.

Thnaks for any suggestions, even "I tried and it didn't help".


Lake Elsinore, CA

I mixed up a concoction of garlic, soap, cayenne peppers and some other misc. hot peppers (I think I even added rubbing alcohol to that batch), strained it, sprayed my plants and the squirrel must have thought it was condiments, because it didn't work. He just kept on munching.

I tried Liquid Fence, it doesn't work that great for squirrels, but it did seem to fend him off somewhat.

Use beer to catch slugs.

You can buy cat repellent that works pretty well.

You can find all kinds of methods and recipes for repelling things online. The best home remedy for killing bugs on my plants has been dish liquid in water for aphids and diatomecious earth, but that is no good for what is attacking your garden. Oh, and I used oil in cat food cans to catch earwigs, that works well, too.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

In the last 2-3 weeks I've found some deterrent value in moderatley hot pepper flakes scattered on the surface, plus slightly hot powedered chili flakes. I don't know if its the smell of the powder or they get as far as not liking the flakes.

But two beds that almost always have been filled with craters within 2-3 days of my turning and raking it have gone 2-3 sweeks, with only a few potholes, and those aft6er lengthy rain.

I don't know whether I've deterred squirrels or cats, but it does seem to need re-application.

And I'll find out how strong the deterrence is in a hungrier season.

Or maybe the loosely deployed chicken wire plus smell is enough deterrent for now. But I don't plan to glue the wire down or embed it 12" deep in the soil. I have not yet coated it with pepper or electrified it.

If it is squirrels, and they get hungry, they can chew through or tunnel under the wire, and may grow to igore or like chili peppers.

We'll see, but the bulbs and some baby bare-root plants are OK so far!

I haven't yet learned how to dry Habaneros for burying around the bulbs - that would be a last resort.


Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

i just read in the papper that in indiathe bhut jolokia is not only used to keep varmints away from crops but it is also used in sprays to ward off bad people and is also used by the military.

i have grown something similar called 7 pots and i can tell ou they are very, very, very hot.

the scoville units ofthe bhut jolokia are one million

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

So far dried Thai chili peppers from the fruit stand seem to be having an effect, espcially in combination with chicken wire! We'll see how it goes when other sources of food disapear.

Indeed it is like a chemical warfare testing ground or mine field in my kitchen right now. I ground up some dry Thai chilies to a fine powder in a coffee chopper, and now sometimes my lips or eyes or whatever BURN if I touch the wrong thing near Ground Zero ... and then touch the wrong part of my body. (Show me on the doll where it hurts, little Ricky!)

*** No squirrels were harmed in the testing of this chemical weapon. ***

Only the dumb gardener. Squirrels are clearly smart enough to stay away.

"7 pots" sounds promising if escalation is needed, but I have also figured out that in my cool summers, I will be lucky if I can grow ANY peppers to maturity, let alone something that expects Indian temperatures. But I'll try, with floating row covers plus whatever Rube Goldberg plastic film and PVC pipe dream I can come up with.

If I can get cherry tomatoes to ripen, I might be able to get hot peppers also.



Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Update: dried Thai chili peppers from the fruit stand, chopped in a coffee grinder, and sprinkled on the soil lose effectiveness after a few days of rain. Cats and/or squirrels ignore them.

Now I rely on chicken wire held down with bricks to protect bulbs and recently-sown seed. No hot peppers.
Closely-spaced mature plants mostly keep cats from using my beds as a litter boxes.

I've read that, in India, Bhut Jolokia peppers are rubbed on fence rails to keep out wild elephants.

Coastal WA wild elephants must be really wimpy, because 1-2 applications of Thai chilies, even after being rained on many times, have kept my garden 100% elephant-free for over a year!


North Hills, CA

Not a good idea unless you want to never touch whatever you sprayed down with any pepper concoction without a hazmat suit.

A friend sprayed down her garden with her homemade pepper spray.
From then on for weeks she ended up in pain from picking her vegies or just plain weeding the garden.
When she hosed down her plants to get rid of the spray on her plants it just spread it around more.
It took a while before she could work in her garden without gloves and changing her cloths after being in the garden.

I don't know what she used for peppers in her mixture but it messed her up as much as the critters she was trying to get rid of,maybe more.
I was probably laughing too hard when she told me what pepper she made her mix out of...

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Not a good idea unless you want to never touch whatever you sprayed down with any pepper concoction without a hazmat suit.

Oh, you mean like "my kitchen" after I ground dry peppers in a loosely-fitting coffee grinder?
Or when I wiped the inside of the grinder with a dirty napkin, and then laid the napkin down "wherever"?

>> I was probably laughing too hard

Me too, until I touched the corner oif my eye.

Is there an emoticon for "laughing and crying at the same time"?

My biggest remaining problem that I might WANT to address with hot pepper chunks or sprays is neighborhood cats flocking to my beds any time I turn them over and then plant seeds or bulbs. Apparently, freshly-turned soil is their definition of "litter box".

Chicken wire seems most effective until seedlings start poking through it. Then i have to try to prop it up so that the seedlings can grow, but cats won't go in.

Squirrels still eat some bulbs all year: I can live with some of that.



North Hills, CA

A great way to grind up pods for powder is to unscrew the bottom of your blender and screw in a mason jar.
No air leaks and you wait until the dust settles to open the jar.
Buy a cheep blender from Wally World or you might have some hot smoothies or whatever.
Pepper juice soals into the plastic bottom of the blender.

This message was edited Nov 4, 2011 7:52 PM

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Pepper juice soaks into the plastic bottom of the blender.

A hah!

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from RickCorey_WA :
Coastal WA wild elephants must be really wimpy, because 1-2 applications of Thai chilies, even after being rained on many times, have kept my garden 100% elephant-free for over a year!

So wimpy and shy are they that they are rarely glimpsed by people under normal circumstances. It reportedly takes a very dedicated individual and special application of the fermentation products of certain carbohydrates to align the senses properly to spot them.


Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from RickCorey_WA :
Is there an emoticon for "laughing and crying at the same time"?

Gosh NO, but you know that sounds like a great little project for some aspiring computer artist!


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> very dedicated individual and special application of the fermentation products

Rich, I think you have it exactly right.

I think I have just the right kind of dedication to keep trying different potions to refine my eyesight sufficiently.


North Hills, CA

Ahh ,
A new name for one of my Homebrew beer recipes "Pink Elephant Chili Bock".

I'm not clear that Elephants apear when you use mass quantities or once you stop consumming mass quantities after an extended period of time.

Farther investigation will surely be needed.Wonder if Obomma will give me a grant for my research project...

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> grant for my research project...

You took the words out of my mouth. There's a research paper in this!

When they do peer review on our grant applications, I'll call yours "intruiging" if you call mine "promising".

I always wondered how vision could imporve so much that we can see things others can't, when we get blind? It's confusing.

When I was a kid, I saw the movie "Harvey" but didn't understand the references to Jimmy Stewart's character being a drun... I mean "vision researcher". I thought he was just a charming eccentric which mad eit even more tragic. Then I saw the movie again, decades later, and said "OOOHHH!"

Maybe we should name a micro-brew "Vision Quest".

North Hills, CA

Nope,gonna stick with Pink Elephants for the tree hugger,endangered animal slant.

Pink elephants are rare so they must be endangered.
Except on some college Campuses these days,might see some at the medical marajuana dispenceries in California.

After the 60's they seemed to have dissapear...or at least aren't seen as often anymore.

I hear they still see a few at the Betty Ford clinic from time to time.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Can't argue with that logic. Maybe we could base a TV series on The Search For Rare, Endangered Imaginary Animals.

Dupont might sponser it if we re-named it: "Better Living Through Chemistry".

"I see Colors!"

North Hills, CA

Can't use IMAGINARY,Would shoot the whole grant all to heck.
No credibility... maybe mythical ...
Do a cable show like the guy on TV that goes around catching giant fish all over the world.

Wow Man,Right on,I see it too.
Nice trails too.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Can't use IMAGINARY,Would shoot the whole grant

Good point.

"Rare, Endangered Animals ONCE THOUGHT TO BE Imaginary"

Maybe these PNW elephants can be trained to eat or crush slugs.
I'm not aware of any reliable hat they CAN'T be trained to eat slugs.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from RickCorey_WA :
Has anyone had luck with using ground or sprayed hot peppers or cayenne pepper to repel squirrels or slugs or cats?

Just a thought: Capsaicin (the active component in hot pepper) is soluble in oil. Why not heat some diced hot peppers in one of the new "dormant" oils, strain out the solids and spray the oil on the plants? The oil should act as a "fixative" (perfumery term) helping slow the evaporation of the capsaicin, the oil won't wash off as easily as powdered pepper, and it will stick to the leaves without adding soap or another spreader/sticker. Of course, you first need to make sure the plants won't be harmed by the oil itself. If using mineral oil bothers you, you could always try using sesame or even neem oil.

Needless to say, make this outside and stay upwind!


This message was edited Nov 13, 2011 7:34 PM

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

The dormant oil extract sounds like a great idea. "Chicken wire" has to come off the ebds before plants get big enough to be entangled.

>> Needless to say, make this outside and stay upwind!

Harrumph. Good advice. Where you you before my FIRST experiment?

DON"T grind dry peppers in a coffee grinder with a loose lid.

And DON'T wipe up pepper dust spills with a napkin, and then set it down where you'll forget that it's "hot", and pick it up and get pepper on your fingers.

Why does common sense seem so obvious after you have "Experience" ?

I can imagine the squirrles watching through my kitchen window and laughing themselves silly at my antics.

FWIW, the biohazard fades over a few weeks, even indoors without rain. But the first few days were very exciting!


Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.