Black Pepper as a Pesticide

Organic gardeners have known it for generations. But scientists have now proved it. Black pepper, used as a pesticide, discourage insect pests from laying eggs on leaves and pose lower risk to humans and the environment than other pesticides, according to a University of Ottawa researcher.

Biologist Ian Scott and his research team have tested black pepper’s potential as a pesticide for use in Canada. And Scott recently presented their findings at the American Chemical Society’s meeting in New York.

They found that pepper worked best with pine sawflies and caterpillars like the eastern tent caterpillar. It also worked better when insects were soft-bodied, during the larval stage. In fact, the pepper extracts were found to be as efficient as the synthetic pesticide diazinon, which is being phased out of use in Canada and will not be available for sale for domestic use after December 31, 2004.

Black pepper can be used on plants as a pesticide and repellent keeping plants healthy. Black pepper acts as a natural antibacterial agent for plants. Biologically, it is an essential spice and its secondary metabolites are used as insecticides and bacterial agents. Black pepper water can be used as a spray to treat fungus infestations because of its intense aromatic properties. Mixed in garden soil, it will prevent insects, larvae, or ants.

Black Pepper as an Insecticide

Due to its distinctive blend of volatile oils, tannin, and a significant amount of alkaloids (Pirrolizidine alkaloids), black pepper (Piper nigrum L. or Piperaceae family) has been employed as a pesticide against bacteria, fungi, and insects. The three most potent ingredients in this spice, namely:

  1. Piperine, are responsible for its insecticidal qualities
  2. Piperylin
  3. Capsaicine

All around the plants. The only thing that will remain around the plant once the spray is applied is the pepper odor.

Spray water evaporates, but the pepper stays on the leaves and continues to repel insects even after drying. Insects dislike the odor of pepper, and it repels them from your plants.

Adding black pepper to powdered sugar can deter beetles and moths.

Antibacterial Property

Researchers have found that spraying black pepper or its oil on plants helps prevent the spread of diseases.

Black pepper contains piperine, an antibacterial element that prevents the growth of mold and bacteria in plants. The spiciness of black pepper can kill mold without the use of chemicals or pesticides, preventing the spread of diseases.

black pepper pesticide

The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson

3 thoughts on “Black Pepper as a Pesticide”

    • Hi Victoria,
      I hadn’t visited that article in some time 😉 I think I need to add more information! One way is to grind the pepper and soak it in water over night and use as a topical spray. Mind you, this won’t stay on the plant after a rain, so use it just like you would any pesticide/insecticide. You can also sprinkle ground pepper on the ground around plants. This is good for repelling ants, Eastern tent caterpillar, Pine sawflie, Aphids, Mealybugs, Scale, rats, and rabbits.


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