Making Insect Pepper – March 2011

This past weekend – 19-20 March was a good one for making insect peppers, particularly for flying insects. A pepper is made to ward off  insects which are hammering your garden (or have the potential to) without resorting to chemical means. In biodynamics you collect and kill the particular insect (in the appropriate sun/moon phases) and burn them to ash, grind the ash and sprinkle it around the garden. You can also make a homeopathic solution with the ash, which can be used at other times.

The locusts have been thick and fast around Newstead, so this was the main ingredient (we used fresh roadkill) and we added cabbage moth butterfly and harlequin bugs (stink bugs). Even though the day favored flying insects, we added some others (slugs, snails, slaters and pear/cherry slugs) because they have been very active in our garden, despite the presence of predator insects and birds. It’s probably best though, to stick to one type of pepper, though because appropriate dates will depend on the type of insect (flying, ground dwelling, or ‘watery’ ones like slugs). Check Brian Keats’ astrocalendar for correct timing.

Here’s the process:

gather kindling and insects

start your fire….


add your insects, here you can see locusts and some other non-preferred crawlies


let the fire burn itself out then crush the ashes to a fine powder

ready to scatter, we applied the pepper around the perimeter and through the middle pathway

4 thoughts on “Making Insect Pepper – March 2011

  1. Liz says:

    In our garden, we have been battling soldier beetles again…so got together with the neigbours to make containers of canola oil and a dash of soy sauce. Placed in the garden with pierced lids they trap pretty anything with a leaning towards sweet and sour! Only problem is, both ours and the neighbour’s dogs have figured out how to bit off the lids and drink the contents…..oh well at least they’ll be nice and regular in their ablutions!

    Good luck with the pepper at the comm garden..

    • janet barker says:

      Thanks, Liz. Yes, the soy sauce and oil one is great for earwigs and slaters too (if the dogs don’t find it first!). The insects seem to go for the salty soy and get suffocated in the oil. The lot can be tossed onto the compost heap when it’s done the job.
      Diatomaceous earth (used in swimming pool filters) is a fine clay/silica type material. Under the microscope its structure is made up of razor sharp particles. Sprinkled around the garden it will slice/pierce the exoskeletons of some insects, including soft bodied ones. Not a nice way to go, probably like death by 1000 cuts! But I have heard this is another effective pest control that is harmless to gardeners, kids and dogs.

    • janet barker says:

      Hi Mark
      Well, we didn’t have any locusts munching away in the garden apart from those in transit, so maybe it was effective… they were thick around town though, squashed on roads, and cars…. but this last winter and spring we have had heavy numbers of slugs, snails and slaters so think a separate method was needed for that.

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