Burn Those Bugs with Pepper Spray!

June 24, 2009 | By | Comments (20)

We’ve all watched manly adventurers take down charging bears with pepper spray. We’ve also seen it used to control rioting old ladies at Wayne Newton concerts. And we’ve wondered — how can we gardeners get in on the fun? 

Now we can with an all-natural insect control that’s perfectly safe around the house, but makes bugs wish they’d never been born. It’s Hot Pepper Wax and the Grump is here to tell you that it really works. Spray it on a plant according to label directions and any insect that takes a bite will be too busy looking for a glass of milk to take a second one.Hpw

I just used it against some little beetles that suck sap from my daylily flower buds and cause them to fall off before they open. Those beetles took off and never returned.

Hot pepper wax is both an insecticide and a repellent. It blends capsaicin from cayenne peppers with highly refined paraffin wax to coat plants with a thin, invisible barrier against pests. The wax allows one spraying to work for up to two weeks, regardless of weather. It also acts as an anti-transpirant to reduce water loss from plants during hot weather.

Deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other varmints don’t like like having their tongues go up in flames either. You can buy gallons of the stuff to apply through a tank sprayer, but I prefer a ready-to-use spray bottle. You’ll find it in garden centers or you can simply click on the link above.

Bugs — get ready to burn!!! Scream to your PETA mamas!!!


  1. Mylene Respes

    Good article ! I loved the details ! Does anyone know where my company can get ahold of a fillable a form version to fill out ?

    March 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm
  2. Dexter

    This really worked! My garden was being feasted on by a family of rabbits and tried all sorts of solutions. After using this spray, they haven’t been back!

    December 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm
  3. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Because the pepper has broken the surface tension of water due to the bug spray.

    September 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm
  4. Jessica

    if you have a glass of water and you put pepper in it and then spray bug spray in the water the pepper goes to the bottom why is that i need to know the answer so please help me

    September 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm
  5. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    As I don’t know how often you fertilized your plant and with what, I can’t tell you for sure that’s the problem. Yellowing, wilted leaves can be caused by lots of things, such as overwatering. One thing you might check for is spider mites on the undersides on the leaves. They multiply vary quickly in warm weather. They’ll show up as tiny specks that move around if you touch them. You can control them by spraying both the tops and bottoms of leaves with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. Pull off and discard any leaves that are yellow already. If overfeeding is the problem, flushing out the soil with water should help.

    July 4, 2009 at 9:09 am
  6. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Impatiens that mysteriously dry up is a fairly common problem. There are two likely causes, both diseases. The first is crown rot, which is caused by overwatering in heavy soil. This is easy to do at this time of year, when impatiens wilt every day from the heat. The solution: pull up any seriously diseased plants and spray the others with a fungicide such as Daconil or Immunox. And before you water, make sure plants are wilting from dry soil, rather than afternoon heat.
    The second possible cause is a soil-borne disease called Verticillium wilt. This usually shows up in beds where impatiens have been planted year after year. The only solution is to plant your impatiens somewhere else for a while.

    July 4, 2009 at 8:56 am
  7. Lila

    My angel trumpet has been over fertilized and appears to be dying…leaves are turning yellow & wilted..HELP!!!Is there anything that can save these ??

    July 4, 2009 at 7:55 am
  8. Dick

    I have some impatients in the garden. I noticed one of them appeared to be drying up and dying. The next day, I noticed the next one was doing the same. Now I have four of them in a row. All dying. Any ideas? All of the rest of the impatients are flouishing.

    July 1, 2009 at 9:47 pm
  9. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Burn, rabbit, burn!!

    June 27, 2009 at 11:53 am
  10. Vikki

    I just today witnessed a rabbit eat the blooms off of my Steel Blue Thistle. That is the one remaining thistle with blooms. The rabbit already chompped my other thistle in half. I’m off to buy a bottle of Hot Pepper Wax first thing tomorrow.

    June 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm
  11. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    It should be if you like them spicy. I’m going out for Indian food tonight. Maybe I’ll take a bottle with me.

    June 25, 2009 at 5:11 pm
  12. Jean

    Do you think this would be good on ribs?

    June 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm
  13. Dave

    I don’t doubt it one bit. I grew cayenne peppers last year and made my own deer repellent with it and some other scented leaves like rosemary. The deer didn’t touch anything I sprayed. Of course I didn’t have a wax mixed in to make it last longer. I may have to try this on some Japanese beetles that are bugging me.

    June 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm
  14. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Probably not. On the other hand, it would make you a real hottie.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:44 am
  15. BarbeCutie

    I’m guessing I should not use this as a personal insect repellent for when I sit out on the deck and watch The Real Housewives of NJ.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm
  16. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    That’s right. Just wash it before eating.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am
  17. Katy

    I guess if you use this on a food producing plant you just have to wash carefully before consuming?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am
  18. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    The problem with your black-eyed Susans sounds like a leaf spot disease. This disease spreads by splashing water, so avoid getting the leaves wet when you water. Remove and discard all diseased foliage. Then spray your plants according to label directions with a fungicide such as Daconil or Immunox.
    It’s hard to say what when wrong with your gardenias without being able to see them. It could be whiteflies, which feed on the undersides of the leaves. Black mold on the leaves is a sign of their presence. Brush the leaves when you buy new plants. If they have whiteflies, you’ll see them. To control them, spray according to label directions with horticultural oil or a systemic insecticide such as Orthene. Other than that, when you replant make sure your gardenias have fertile, acid, well-drained soil and plenty of sun.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:31 am
  19. Gail

    Three of my beautiful gardinas
    have died. They were about
    4 years old and all of a sudden the leaves started
    turning yellow, then brown
    and then the completly died.
    Any suggestions when I plant
    new ones?

    June 24, 2009 at 9:17 am
  20. Gail

    I need help with my blackeyed
    susans. All the bottom leaves
    have turned brown and are
    dying. What should I use for
    this problem.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:15 am

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