Use This Handy Kitchen Ingredient To Keep Pests Off Your Fall Pumpkins

As autumn rolls in, the excitement of nurturing those gorgeous fall pumpkins is a shared joy among gardeners. Yet, this pleasure often comes with a looming concern — the risk of pests descending upon our prized pumpkins. The prospect of these pesky insects ruining our carefully cultivated pumpkin patch can be disheartening. Fortunately, there's a simple and effective solution that can be found right in your kitchen pantry: cayenne pepper.

The worry about safeguarding your pumpkins from insect infestations is a genuine one. Pests, ranging from tiny but destructive aphids and spider mites to lace bugs, whiteflies, squash bugs, and more, can rapidly turn your flourishing pumpkin garden into a haven for unwelcome visitors. Enter cayenne pepper, a versatile cooking ingredient and natural bug repellent in one. These hot chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives them that fiery heat. Interestingly, capsaicin is also an effective insect deterrent and can even be lethal to pests as it damages their nervous systems. When used correctly, cayenne pepper can help keep garden invaders at bay without the need to resort to harsh chemical pesticides that may harm beneficial insects or linger in your garden's ecosystem.

How to use cayenne pepper to drive away pests

Now that you know cayenne pepper's potential as a pumpkin patch guardian, it's time to make your own natural pest repellent. Cayenne pepper insect sprays are widely used, and there are different recipes you can try. For this particular insect spray, you'll need cayenne pepper powder or hot sauce, water, dish soap, and a spray bottle. Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder (or a few dashes of hot sauce) with a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture to ensure the solution adheres when sprayed. Carefully spray your pumpkin plants, especially the leaves, stems, and base as these areas are the most susceptible to pest attacks. Reapply the spray after rainfall or every 7 to 10 days for ongoing protection throughout the growing season. You can also spread some cayenne pepper powder around the pumpkins or slather some hot sauce on each pumpkin to work as a natural insect and animal deterrent.

While cayenne pepper is a natural solution, it's wise to exercise some safety precautions. When handling cayenne pepper or hot sauce, wear gloves to prevent skin irritation and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes. Additionally, keep pets and children away from freshly sprayed plants to prevent any accidental contact. With cayenne pepper as your trusty ally, you can confidently protect your fall pumpkins from the clutches of unwanted insect invaders.