Use chili peppers to control pests



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Content: Use chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) as a powder or spray against many crop pests.

Many people use chili peppers when they prepare their meals. Chili peppers can also be used to make an effective pest control spray or dust which can be used instead of some harmful chemical pesticides. All over the world, farmers and gardeners use chili peppers in different ways to control pests in both growing crops and in stored grain.

For crops in field or garden

You can make an effective spray to use on growing crops from chili peppers, water, and soap. Chop up a large handful (about 100 grams or 1/4 of a pound) of chili peppers. Be careful when you’re handling them because they could burn your skin. Add about 1 litre (1 quart) of water. Let the solution stand for about one day. Then, strain the mixture through a sieve or fine cloth. Add an equal amount of soapy water. The soap is important because it helps the solution stick to the leaves and fruit of the plant. Spray the solution on your affected plants using a watering can, brush, or sprayer.

Some people use variations of this by adding some onions and garlic to the mixture. Or they dust ground dry chili peppers directly on the affected part of the plant. It’s a good idea to experiment and see what works best for you.

After harvesting your produce, be sure to wash it so that you remove all the chili pepper mixture that may still be on it. Unless you do this, the taste of the produce could be spoiled.

For stored grain or seeds

To repel pests in grain or seeds in storage you can use dried chili peppers. To do this, dry the chili peppers in the sun. After they’re dry, grind them to a fine powder. Mix the powder with the grains to be stored but be careful not to get the powder in your eyes, nose or mouth! Instead of grinding, some people just mix whole dry chili peppers in their grain. Why not try using dried chili pepper powder in one lot of grain and whole chili peppers in another lot? That way you can find out which is best for you and what proportions of chili peppers to grain you should use.

Make sure that the grains or seeds you are going to store are well dried before you mix the chili pepper powder or whole chili peppers with them. To find out if their rice, soyabeans, cowpeas, or other grains are dry enough, some farmers do a test by biting one or two seeds with their teeth. A very sharp cracking sound when biting means that the grain is dry enough to be stored. Other people press the grain kernel with their thumb nail to make sure it’s hard and dry.

In many countries of the world, farmers use chili peppers to protect their stored grain from pests. You can do this too, whether you store your grain in pots, sacks, gourds, baskets, or whatever containers you usually use.



You may want to use this item with:

Insects die in airtight grain storage – Package 6, Item 8

Aphid control at little cost – Package 11, Items 6 and 7

Neem trees provide safe no-cost control of many insects – Package 16, Items 4, 5, 6, 7


Special supplement

DCFRN participants report that they use chili pepper mixtures to control the following pests.

  • aphids
  • centipedes
  • spider mites
  • cabbage worms
  • weevils
  • ants
  • cutworms
  • grasshoppers
  • rice bug
  • brown planthopper
  • tobacco mosaic virus
  • rice weevil
  • caterpillars
  • housefly
  • mosquitoes
  • bruchids
  • beetles

DCFRN participants have also suggested a variety of methods that chili peppers can be used to control pests. Here are a few of their ideas.


Some insects that attack fruits and vegetables can be repelled with pesticides made from locally grown plants. Pests like ants, centipedes, spider mites, cabbage worms, and some worms that attack corn and tomato can be controlled using the following mixture.

Grind three cloves of garlic, two medium-sized chili peppers, and three medium-sized onions. Put these in a litre can and fill with water. Let the solution soak overnight. After 12 hours, strain the solution and add water to fill a three-gallon container. Spray the solution on the affected plants.

Robert Bishop/Palau

We mix chili peppers with water and spray them on plants to control chewing pests.


We mix powdered chili peppers together with wood ashes and spray the mixture on plant leaves affected with aphids.

Inocencio Q. Obero/Philippines

Grind or mash mature hot chili peppers and spray to control grasshoppers.

Vivencio Argel/Philippines

Here, chili peppers are used for the control of the rice bug (Septocorizza oratorius). First, pound the fruits of the peppers. Put in a container and soak in water for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain the solution to remove seeds and other foreign materials. Two cups of pounded pepper prepared like this is enough to spray half a hectare of rice land.


Use ground pepper to control storage pests of beans and maize.


Grind chili peppers to a fine powder and apply to grains for control of storage pests.


We use chili peppers ground or whole, mixed with produce before storage in pots for general pest control.

Information sources

39 DCFRN participants sent us information about how they use chili peppers to control pests.