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Can Black Pepper Deter Garden Pests?

Plant leaves with holes chewed from insects
Uryupina Nadezhda/Shutterstock.com

Having your own garden is a great way to do something good for the planet, live more sustainably, and grow your own food so you know exactly what you’re eating. It’s a casual hobby for some and a lifestyle for others who rely on what they grow for things like canning and preserving all year. So, the last thing you want is to deal with the headache of garden pests eating all of your hard work.

Of course, most avid gardeners also don’t want to sprinkle their plants with harmful chemicals or pesticides.

Thankfully, there’s a natural solution that deters garden pests—and it’s probably already in your pantry.

Black pepper is one of the most basic seasonings you can add to any recipe, but it also serves as a natural solution to keep pests out of your garden.

First, it’s a larvicide. That means it can kill insect larvae before they have the chance to develop and destroy your garden. It’s strong enough to work even against insecticide-resistant bugs like flies and beetles.

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Another safe and natural way to protect your plants.

Maybe you don’t have many insects tearing up your plants, but other pests and rodents can’t seem to stay away. Pepper comes to the rescue again, helping to ward off squirrels, groundhogs, and even cats and dogs who might be tempted to dig in the dirt.

Why is it so effective? Black pepper contains a compound called piperine. It’s an alkaloid compound that also serves as a natural antibacterial agent. It’s what gives pepper its “spicy” flavor (and even makes you sneeze), but it also kills insects and emits a strong scent that keeps most mammalian animals away.

To experience the full benefits of using black pepper in your garden, consider using it in a few different ways. The easiest solution is simply sprinkling it all over the soil. It won’t harm your plants, and it will sink into the soil toward the roots, warding away any insects or rodents who might spend time there.

If bugs or other animals are munching on your leaves, you can use a combination of black pepper oil and warm water in a spray bottle, and give your plants a spritz. The oil will offer the same effect as the spice itself.

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Add a few spritzes of black pepper oil to your plant leaves to keep bugs away.

You should only have to apply pepper to the soil or directly to the plants once in a while, but if you notice that bugs or other pests are starting to return, or if it’s rained recently, you might want to give everything another coat. This simple DIY solution is a safe, natural, and effective way to keep your garden blooming all season.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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