Does cayenne pepper repel ants?

Ants are a very common household pest that can quickly become an annoying infestation. Many people try to use different methods to get rid of ants, but what about using cayenne pepper? Yes, you read that right! But does it really work? Let’s find out.

What is Cayenne Pepper?

First things first, let’s talk about what cayenne pepper actually is. Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that belongs to the nightshade family. It gets its name from the city of Cayenne in French Guiana and has been used for thousands of years in cooking and traditional medicine.

What Makes Cayenne Pepper Effective Against Ants?

The reason why cayenne pepper might be effective against ants boils down to one specific compound found within peppers called capsaicin (which gives them their spicy flavor). Capsaicin causes irritation and burning sensation on contact with skin or mucous membranes (ouch). And we all know by now how much most insects hate strong-smelling and irritating substances, especially around their antennae which they rely heavily upon (think hikers being attacked by mosquitoes).

When ants come into contact with cayenne powder containing capsaicin compounds, it causes them discomfort as well as disruption in their ability to communicate through scent trails (much like us struggling when hit by tear gas). This makes it difficult or impossible for other colony members to follow the pheromone trail leading back to whatever food source attracted those initial scouts.

How do You Use It?

Here are some simple ways you can use cayenne powder:

Mix Water with Powder

Mix a small amount (~1tbs) of powdered red-pepper flakes (cayennes) together in one cup water & spritz / pour onto problem areas.

Scatter Straight Cops Placed Around Little Holes

Purchased straight cayenne pepper in small cop shaped containers can be scattered directly onto the ground or around furniture legs. It’s also possible to place them strategically near any little holes that you have located ants entering your home.

Use as a Barrier

It is most effective when used as a barrier or preventative barrier, so it should be placed along doors, windowsills, and other entry points. The powder can be sprinkled in outdoor areas around plants & walkways leading to our homes- this way we don’t only tackle inside problems but outside too!

Mix with Sugar

For those who are up for attempting more creative measures against the pesky pests, mix together an equal amount of sugar and powdered red-pepper flakes; [~2tbs] then spread this mixture on pieces of cardboard which may go where needed.

Note: Be sure to use gloves or wash thoroughly after handling cayenne pepper–and keep it away from kids and pets!

Does it Work?

In short — Yes BUT.
Cayenne seems like a hot new take on repelling ants but please manage your expectations accordingly. Cayenne will not create some magic force field pushing ants out of their beloved nests; Ants will still march right over the top of any layer one has created. The effectiveness article revolves mostly around keeping them temporally distracted when they walking through corridors.

While there isn’t scientific evidence proving that cayenne pepper works specifically against ants because conducted experiments generally tests the efficacy different pesticides concoctions sprayed onto bugs rather than home remedies —there’s no harm in trying natural solutions (insert caveats mentioned prior).

One thing to note: while cayenne might work as an immediate ant deterrent by disrupting pheromone trails (or simply being unpleasant for insects), long-term success often requires tackling underlying problem causes such removing potential food sources found lying stagnant throughout your home/apartment.


Cayenne pepper can be an effective way to repel ants, but it’s not going to solve all your ant problems. Depending on the intensity of an infestation and/or severity of their hunger; you may need other measures (think: extensive caulking). Cayenne serves best as a safe and natural supplement to more conventional methods. With proper application though, incorporating cayenne into our pest control arsenal may prove an essential strategy in keeping these little buggers at bay!

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