Last week on our “how to repel mice and rats using household products” series, we experimented with moth balls, mint oil, ultrasonic waves, and dryer sheets to see which methods were effective in keeping rodents away. If you’re curious over which household rodent repellent myths held true to the buzz, check out the article here: https://mrpestguy.com/testing-household-products-to-repel-mice-rats-part-1/

This week, we’ll take a hotter approach, testing to see if the world’s spiciest pepper, Chinese Szechuan Pepper, or Pure Capsaicin Crystals are enough to repel mice and rats from homes or other invaded spaces. 

Does The Carolina Reaper Pepper Repel Mice & Rats?

The World’s Hottest Pepper, The Carolina Reaper, has been rumored to repel rats and mice away when used as bait, due to its extremely spicy properties. It is difficult for even a human to eat, causing intense burning of the mouth, teary eyes, numbness in the face, and full body pains as little as 5 seconds after consumption. Even in regards to smell and touch, a freshly cut Carolina Reaper has a very distinct scent of spice and causes burning and tingling of the skin when touched without gloves (due to the juices that come out of the pepper seeping into your skin when the pepper is cut). 

So logically, it is unthinkable for a rodent to want to get close to one of these peppers when freshly cut and laying out in the open, let alone get a taste of one and come back for more. 

With all the odds stacked in our favor, Youtuber Shawn Woods put this household mice repellent myth to the test. Using Carolina Reaper peppers grown in his own backyard, Woods cut up over a dozen fresh peppers into small pieces on a large wooden tray. He made sure to squeeze the pepper so that all the juices seeped deep into the wood of the tray, creating a circle shaped barrier of peppers and juice around the circumference of the entire tray. 

Within the intimidating pepper circle, there were two piles of food for the mice: plain sunflower seeds, and sunflower seeds mixed with small pieces of pepper, pepper juice, and pepper seeds. The first test would be if the smell alone deterred the mice from walking over the pepper barrier to get to the food, and if the mice made it that far, the question would then be if they’d try to eat the pepper-contaminated food itself. With hidden spy cameras set up, Woods placed the freshly prepped tray on the floor in an area where mice infest his property, and watched overnight to see what took place. 

With much disappointment, the mice didn’t even hesitate to walk over the pepper barrier, seemingly unaffected by the pepper juice coating their hands, feed, and fur, and uncaring of the strong spicy scent. The mice showed little preference in their food choice, first eating all of the sunflower seeds from the pile with no peppers in it. However, once the uncontaminated pile was finished, the mice easily moved on to eating the sunflower seeds coated in spicy peppers without appearing bothered or put off by the pepper. The mice continued to eat the seeds from the pepper pile throughout the night until there was none left.

So overall, it can be said that the Carolina Reaper peppers do not repel mice or rats, nor do the peppers prevent them from getting into food. 

For the full video on this experiment, click here: https://youtu.be/LBWskgp-G00

Does Chinese Szechuan Pepper Spice Repel Mice & Rats?

Next on the chopping block is Chinese Szechuan Peppercorn. Unlike the more typical qualities of peppers that we’re accustomed to, Szechuan pepper is not hot or spicy. This peppercorn is unique in that it tastes of lemons or spearmint, and causes an intense tingly feeling in the mouth after consumption. It has been said by many scientists and natural pest control blogs that spraying concentrated Szechuan pepper on crops or other areas can deter rodents away. The smell and tingly taste are meant to be painful to rodents. This encountered pain through smell and taste would hypothetically scare rodents away from the area, encouraging them to find alternative feeding spaces away from your home. 

In this experiment, Youtuber Shawn Woods used ground up Szechuan peppercorn spice for his quarrel against the rodents of his farmland. On a wooden feeding tray, Woods created two separate piles of bait for the rodents. The first pile was plain sunflower seeds, and the second pile was sunflower seeds mixed in with a hefty serving of Szechuan spice. Via nighttime spy cam, the feeding tray was observed in action on the floor of an area where rodents frequent throughout the night. Early into the night, a squirrel approached the feeding tray, opting to eat the sunflower seeds doused in Szechuan spice first, stuffing his cheeks full of seeds and spice before disappearing back to his nest. Later on, mice approached the scene and ate what was left of the sunflower seeds, uncaring whether the seeds were covered in Szechuan pepper spice or not. 

Simply put, Chinese Szechuan Peppercorn does not repel mice, rats, or other rodents. 

Watch the spy cam footage here: https://youtu.be/xjfzaj1q9lY

Do Capsaicin Crystals Repel Mice And Rats?

Capsaicin crystals are extremely potent, finely ground crystals, holding an appearance similar to that of salt as ranking as hot as 16 million SHUs (Scoville Heat Units)- 8 times hotter than the spicier than the world’s hottest pepper! Although a small taste of the pure crystals themselves may not appear to be all that spicy, dissolving the crystals into the smallest amount of vodka or any other hard liquor creates a solution that tastes hot enough to make you sick, and is highly advised against digesting unless it is diluted properly. 

With mice appearing to have a seriously prohibited sense of smell or taste when it comes to spices, happily eating the world’s spiciest pepper in past experiments without batting an eye, are capsaicin crystals hot enough to finally keep pesky rodents at bay? 

Youtuber Shawn Woods put this question to the test, creating a potent mixture of 1 gram capsaicin crystals to 1 cup of vodka, soaking sunflower seeds in the solution overnight. Additionally, to keep a control subject in the experiment, Woods soaked sunflower seeds in just plain vodka too. 

Once all the seeds had been soaked accordingly, 3 piles were made on a flat, wooden feeding tray: plain sunflower seeds, sunflower seeds soaked in plain vodka, and sunflower seeds soaked in the capsaicin crystals and vodka mixture. Once the tray of seeds was freshly sorted, the tray was placed in an area rodents frequent, and Woods peaked in throughout the night with a night vision camera. 

His findings came as follows, mice approaching the piles of seeds and eating from both the plain sunflower seeds and plain vodka soaked seeds alike, apparently not minding the liquory taste. However, mice stayed away from the pile of seeds soaked with capsaicin crystals, a few brave souls taking a small taste and never coming back for seconds from that pile. By the end of the night, with two out of three piles diminished and the mice gone, the new discovery was obvious- mice hate the capsaicin crystals. Whether it’s the pungent smell of spice or the sickenly hot taste, it is safe to say that capsaicin crystals do repel mice and rats. Capsaicin crystals worked great in preventing the mice from eating food left out in the open contaminated with the spice. 

Watch the experiment here: https://youtu.be/GoyRltXRjpE

How Do I Use Capsaicin Crystals To Repel Rodents?

While there is ample evidence that mice hate capsaicin crystals and that it works as a natural rodent repellent, you may still be wondering what to do with this information, or how you can apply it to your own household pest control. Of course, going around putting capsaicin and vodka solutions all over your home is not the answer to your rodent problem, as capsaicin is potentially harmful to humans. Although it is not considered toxic to humans, and has no serious long term effects, capsaicin used in repellent products can cause inflammation of the lungs, teary eyes, burning eyes, and tingly and burning sensations on the skin of humans. There are some simple and easily accessible tools that can help repel mice and rats away from your property using capsaicin without having to touch the ingredients directly, helping to avoid any of these exposure side effects. 

Currently, capsaicin crystals are used in small quantities as an ingredient in certain pest control products. An example of this is Bonide’s Hot Pepper Wax Animal Repellent, a sprayable animal and insect repellent containing both capsaicin extract and cayenne pepper. There are various sprayable products similar to this, typically made for outside use that allows you to spray plants and foliage without hurting them. This product is great for those of you looking for garden safe rodent repellents.  

Moreover, PiGNX Detour for Rodents is a barrier sealant animal repellent made with capsaicin crystals. It can be used both indoors and outdoors to seal cracks, holes, or openings, repelling rodents such as mice and rats away with the scent and taste of spice. It is important to keep in mind that capsaicin affects all animals, so using these types of products is not safe for use in pet friendly households. Capsaicin will cause side effects in cats or dogs (and any other animals) that come into contact with these repellent products. 

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Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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