Why we crave hot peppers but pests don’t


You may have a real craving for hot peppers and hot pepper products...

But it turns out certain pests don’t exactly share your affection. Certain pests, like mice, are actually repelled by capsaicin. That’s, of course, the active component of chili peppers that makes them so hot. A pepper’s pungency is measured by its Scoville Heat Units, as recorded on the Scoville Scale. The higher the number on the scale, the hotter the pepper is. Many of us aren’t afraid to experiment a bit by taste-testing some of the hottest peppers and hottest pepper products on the market. As for mice, they may be attracted to your home for food and warmth, but they’re probably not interested in your hot peppers.

For proof, just consider the fact that capsaicin is already used in certain ways to repel pets like mice.

In particular, it has been used to help keep mice away from optical cable lines. It’s too costly to use certain methods to keep them at bay. That’s why designers have come up with some unique designs and materials. One method is to add the chemical component of capsicum to the cable sheath. It’s been found that mice are much more sensitive to hot substances than humans are. In turn, that means a relatively effective repellent for rodents. Other ideas are also being investigated to see what works the best over time, and what’s the best economically and for the environment.

Mice aren’t the only pests that don’t seem to care much for the hot stuff.

Some gardeners use hot peppers, particularly cayenne pepper, to keep other pests away. You can buy some of these natural repellents in stores or even make your own. Some gardeners also say capsaicin helps deter other unwanted garden visitors too, like rabbits, squirrels and even deer.

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