Deer repellent Capsaicin affecting bees? #555323

Asked April 23, 2019, 5:39 PM EDT

I am wondering if a systemic granular product called Repellex and containing 0.3% Capsaicin purchased to repel deer and rabbits from ornamental plants will affect bees and other pollinators. The directions say to apply this to the soil and it will be transported into the plant through the root system. It is a one time application. Thank you for any help, Meg Storkamp

Winneshiek County Iowa

Expert Response

That’s an interesting question. Good for you for thinking about bees and other insect pollinators. One question to think about is whether or not the flowers of the plants that you plan to treat are visited by bee or other insect pollinators. If there are no flowers, then Repellextm should not cause a problem since the insects would have no reason to visit the plants. It is worth noting that this product should not be applied to plants that you intend to eat.

According to How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from pesticides , a Pacific Northwest Extension publication, “This product, (Capsaicin), is toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product if bees are visiting the treatment area.” This does not say that using this product as a systemic is a problem. Be sure to follow the label directions to ensure the best results. I include a link to the EPA Pesticide Product label for Repellextm which makes no mention of toxicity to bees.

The National Pesticide Information Center’s fact sheet on capsaicin does say the “capsaicin should not be very mobile in soil based on its chemical properties and that half of the capsaicin applied to soil broke down in 2-8 days.” It would be worth considering how effectiveness of this product.

Thank you for your patience while we were researching this answer. Hope the deer in your area decide to dine elsewhere.

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