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Anyone here use capsaicin-based insecticide?

It seems ironic to post this on a hot pepper forum - I guess I just would assume that everyone here would have tried it, but I haven't seen a topic on it yet.

Back when I was growing orchids for a company, I had an issue with mealy bugs. Heinous little bastards, they get way way waaaaay down into the cracks of a Phalaenopsis (or Dendrobium, or Catalea, etc) and spread like wildfire. They're really tough to irradicate, and they gestate pretty quickly. a major challenge with this plant is that it's a monopod (1-footed) and if you get water down into the crown, it can rot - and that's it for that plant. It'll never grow a new crown leaf. Many pesticides are microencapsulated in a water-based solution, making it risky to spray down into the crown of a Phalaenopsis.

A vendor came in touting the miracles of capsaisin-based pesticide, and I figured I'd give it a go. I always appreciate nontoxic solutions, and there's nothing in the pepper-based pesticide that's harmful in any way.

The company advertised that you could drink the stuff (though it smelled pretty funky, so I would not recommend this).

Speaking only from my experience treating mealybugs on Phalaenopsis, the results were excellent - the stuff was encapsulated in a waxy mix, and not only eliminated the bugs, but left a glossy residue on the plants leaves, which was pretty pleasing to look at. The plants looked great - if I recall correctly the spray also very lightly fertilized the plants too. Plus with the residue, as soon as the babies hatched they were instantly nuked.

what I used was similar to this:
http://www.agricultu...ide-Gallon.html

but that's not the exact product - the one I used had a really colorful label (hey, it was 15 years ago...my memory is like a golden retriever these days...)

I've heard it's not great for aphids, but for soft-bodied pests it was pretty darn effective.

Anyone here have other experiences with this? I'm curious about treating whitefly, worms, etc. when fruiting my cherry tree gets caterpillars, earwigs and thrips - I think it'd probably work for the thrips, but not sure about the rest. Would love to hear other folks' experiences. :cheers:
 
Would not insects that feed on hot peppers be tolerant to capsaicin? Also I thought capsaicin was aimed at mammals?
 
Would not insects that feed on hot peppers be tolerant to capsaicin? Also I thought capsaicin was aimed at mammals?

I don't think so. Eating it and being doused in it are different things - like I said, it's especially effective on soft-bodies bugs - but I've had no experience with hard shelled things (earwigs are in that category I think).

As for mammals, I used to carry pepper spray while waking my dog as we had a few nasty strays in the neighborhood, but I read that pepper spray is not only ineffective on dogs, some actually like it. I switched to a small-ish stunner - electricity is 100% effective. But that's dogs - humans are obviously succeptible to pepper spray far more signficantly.

But yeah - back on topic I'm not sure if it's the capsaicin in the solution or the parafin wax smothering the critter - but supposedly the capsaicin breaks down the insect's "shields" and causes cellular damage.

Anyway, that's why I ask - like I said, I have had personal experience using it for mealybugs - wondering about other critters - especially for my cherries, as they tend to get hit with pests right before they're ripe. So using the least toxic thing possible is appealing to me.
 
Funny you mention this Lucky, because two months ago an old time farmer I spoke with while buying corn said that he uses hot peppers to make his own home made plant insect spray. He was grateful when I gave him a few peppers. I gave him a white bhut to try but before I could warn him, he took a decent sized bite and it lit him up like a Christmas tree. I felt bad, but at least glad he had some seeds to grow new plant pesticide peppers next season. :!:

Rhody...
 
This is an interesting topic.

Capsaicin is a poison, even to us as humans, if taken in a large enough dosage...there is an LD-50 with it for us.

But getting back to critters, last year i had a Darlingtonia californica that was badly infested with red spider mites.

And discovering that capsaicin is a natural miticide, I mixed up a teaspoon of Judy's Trindidad Volcano Superhot Powder into a 1 liter spray bottle of water and then vigorously shook the bottle.

The plant was liberally sprayed with this hot powder mixture.

I believe the plant was sprayed twice like this over the period of a few days.

Some of the pepper specks did dry onto the plant's pitchers, but seemed to do no harm to the plant.

None of those red specks ever moved and i haven't seen a mite on this plant since.




dvg
 
i just sent my brother some dried peppers for this purpose. he is growing some medicinal stuff and having a hell of a time with spider mites. supposedly, capsaicin is great for getting rid of these things. just thought i'd throw that in there.
 
I've used pepper powder mixed with D.E. and it was very effective that way for a short term, I'ved also mixed it with insecticidle soap which worked better.
once I just used straight cayanne powder and one of my dogs got a snoot full, poor thing rubbed its nose in the ground and then would rub one side of its head then the other side, all the while his nose was running like a water hose lots of drooling after that it wouldn't go near my plants.
funny think I could open a bottle of hot sauce or sprinkle hot pepper powder on my meal and it would go and hide. I've had dogs though that would get in the garden and eat my sweet peppers but would leave the hot peppers alone.
I don't use pepper powder as pest control very often now days, as I use to much of it in my food, can't seem to get enough of it.
George W.
 
But getting back to critters, last year i had a Darlingtonia californica that was badly infested with red spider mites.

And discovering that capsaicin is a natural miticide, I mixed up a teaspoon of Judy's Trindidad Volcano Superhot Powder into a 1 liter spray bottle of water and then vigorously shook the bottle.

The plant was liberally sprayed with this hot powder mixture.

I believe the plant was sprayed twice like this over the period of a few days.

Some of the pepper specks did dry onto the plant's pitchers, but seemed to do no harm to the plant.

None of those red specks ever moved and i haven't seen a mite on this plant since.

My partner and I grow Cobra Lillies and Sarracenia. As you will know, most pest control products can't be used because you need to stay away from soap based products, so it's always good to hear of something that will work. We've never actually had a problem with red spider mites, although aphids can be a problem. This is a useful tip though in case we do get spider mites. If I was to make the powder myself then presumably I'd have to dry the chilis out and then grind them up. Would I be grinding up the seed or the skin or both?
 
This is an interesting topic and I think it needs to be revived. I have used this before on not just pepper plants but a wide variety of vegetables like kale, collard, pak choy, and even basil and fennel. I mixed a tbsp of bhut jolokia powder per 1 gallon water and sprayed everything. The good news is it worked, albeit short term since I don't used soap or sticker. None of the plants died or even burned from it and spider mite and aphid population dropped considerably.
Now comes the WTH was I thinking part:
Pepper powder is not completely soluble so there are granules floating around in the sprayer. These granules tend to clog the nozzle. Needed to manually unscrew tip and unclog every few minutes - did it without gloves - see where I'm going here?
Need I mention about spray particles randomly floating in the air as you walking around - had no face mask either - notice a pattern?
The victory was I killed bugs.
The defeat was hands and face burning all night and into the next day.
 
Lesson of the day children: Unless you got a hazmat suit, find another way :mouthonfire:
 
Capsaicinoids are oil and alcohol soluble.  When mixed with water, and sprayed on the plants, most likely the effectiveness is working because minute particles of powder are going through the sprayer and onto the plant...and hands...and face...and into the lungs.... :mouthonfire:
 
 
It might be more effective to use alcohol with the pepper powder (even el-cheapo dollar store cayenne will work)  then mix it with water for spraying.
 
Put some pepper powder into a pint jar (1/2 cup cayenne, maybe less of you want to use other superhots, but cayenne is cheap and readily available), fill with cheap vodka or whatever, let it steep for a few days/week.  The capsaicinoids will leach out into the vodka.  You can leave the powder in the jar indefinitely.  When you need to use some, mix "a bit of alcohol" (don't know how much "a bit" is, depends on the powder, etc) with water in the sprayer and off you go! 
 
Disclaimer- I don't know if the alcohol will have any detrimental effects on the plants.  Also, once sprayed with any kind of pepper solution, the plant will have the capsaicinoid residue on it....might make for interesting fun come harvest time.... ;)  :lol:
 
 
Side benefit....you can also use the vodka to make a Killer Bloody Mary!  :cheers:
 
In theory if you spray the plants after the sun starts setting the alcohol should dry/evaporate before the sun gets too high the next day. Still….. so hard not to just drink chile-infused vodka! 
 
You know (thinking out loud), using more oil might be an even better route. Say, cap oil (from the powder) and veggie oil, put in an oil mister…..
 
geeme said:
In theory if you spray the plants after the sun starts setting the alcohol should dry/evaporate before the sun gets too high the next day. Still….. so hard not to just drink chile-infused vodka! 
 
You know (thinking out loud), using more oil might be an even better route. Say, cap oil (from the powder) and veggie oil, put in an oil mister…..
Yea... chile infused oil is much less tempting to drink than chile infused vodka!  :lol:   I figure Dollar Store cayenne and vodka are cheap enough, a person can afford to make enough for both uses. 
 
I've made a few garlic (although I've read it's better just wazzed up with water) and habanero oil extractions with mineral and vegetable. After my recent success (burnt plants, the sun be stronger than indoor lights) with mineral oil, and discovering there are a variety of grades, I'll wait until I get stylet oil before trying that again.
 
It is a little redundant extracting to mineral, but I figure more punch is more punch and capsaicin is not phytotoxic. Garlic and canola made much more sense as an antifungal oil.
 
geeme's right on the alcohol, it's also used as a miticide.
 
birdfather said:
i just sent my brother some dried peppers for this purpose. he is growing some medicinal stuff and having a hell of a time with spider mites. supposedly, capsaicin is great for getting rid of these things. just thought i'd throw that in there.
I don't think I would be using persistant "nuclear powder" on something to be eaten or worse, smoked.
 
Unless of course, you like spicy medicine. :hell:
 
Some oil-based sprays can block the breathing pores (stoma) on the leaves' undersides. They can also compromise the protective cutin (wax) layer of plant leaves.
I admit, i use neem- and other oil- based sprays, but i lean to strictly water-based sprays whenever possible.

Back in the 1970s, in rural Ontario (Canada), i once used home-made cayenne spray in an enclosed area (a sunporch) to eliminate spider mites from tomato seedlings. The tomatoes thrived, i survived the internal respiratory sunburn (though it took a stint in rehab to break me of the habit of snorting calamine lotion...), and the mites died. Happy ending.

No repeat spraying was needed, which is odd, considering the mite's life cycle. It suggests that there might be a fair bit of residual capsaicin remaining several days later (ie.: when the last-laid clutch of mite eggs hatches out), and that could be a problem for growers intent on re-releasing predators (ie.: mites like Phytoseiulus persimilis, which prey on spider mites) into an area that has recently been sprayed.

I'd also advise caution when using plant parts (ie.: powdered cayenne), to treat plants. Various fungal spores, bacteria, and viral particles -- plant pathogens -- that infested field-grown crops of low-grade bulk cayenne peppers (the kind that become powdered cayenne in jars on a shelf in a dollar store...), can infect your own plants. Note that tomatoes, squash, and other related plants are also more vulnerable to some of these plant diseases.

There's a simple solution: if your formula calls for, say, 1tsp. cayenne powder per quart water, then steep 1 tsp, cayenne in 1 cup boiling water (like tea) till cool. Refrigerate, to rapidly settle out particles. Pour off from sediment, into 1-quart container. Top off with water.
--variation: use paper coffee filters to clarify pepper "tea".
--alternatively, use chili flakes, and a tea-strainer.
...and, for crying out loud, make sure any teacups/strainers/whatever from the kitchen are cleansed thoroughly. Residual capsaicin can surprise people unpleasantly.... i speak from personal experience.

Anyway, the boiling water will certainly decontaminate the cayenne nicely.

As i said, this spray sometimes (not always) was a "one-shot" treatment for spider mites. Best used twice, to be sure of eradication.
Respiratory and eye protection strongly recommended.
 
I use quite often a mix of the hottest fresh peppers (dry will work as well) I can find along with fresh crushed garlic and let it steep for a week while I usally spray it in the evenings and do this as a regular part of folar sprays every other week. I follow this up with dusting with Diatomaceous earth (food grade) on the week I dont spray. Been working like a dream for me. As others mentioned use good judgement on spraying ie.. dont spray into the wind and protect your eyes. It also helps to use a tea bag or strain your bug brew prior to putting it into your sprayer. One might also consider
looking into using other benificial bugs to get rid of the pesky ones. Just a thought. Cheers 
 
^Doooo it. I've got millions of A. cucumeris running around, aboot to order pollen to keep them well fed, and I dropped the ball getting more Mosquito Dunks to deal with FG when I moved back inside, but now, from using garden soil/leaf mulch, etc, have H. miles flying all over the pots at top speed!
 
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