Toxicity and repellency of hot pepper extracts to spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch

George F. Antonious, Janet E. Meyer, John C. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Increasing concern about persistence and environmental impact of synthetic pesticide residues require development of biodegradable and environmentally safe alternatives. The potential of using fruit extracts of hot pepper as alternatives to synthetic acaricides for controlling the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, is explored in this study. Twenty-four Capsicum accessions (Solanaceae) were screened for their toxicity and repellency to the spider mites. Crude extracts from fruits of C. chinense, C. frutescens, C. baccatum, C. annuum, and C. pubescens were prepared in methanol and tested for their acaricidal properties. Spider mite mortality was greatest (45%) when fruit extract of accession Grif-9169 (C. annuum) was used. Results from diving board bioassays indicated that mites avoided filter paper strips treated with hot pepper extracts from accessions PI-596057 (C. baccatum), PI-195299 (C. annuum), and Grif- 9270 (C. annuum). This investigation suggests that methanolic extracts of these three accessions may have a great potential for repelling spider mites and should be field-tested on a large-scale to assess their value in managing populations of spider mites, which could reduce reliance on synthetic acaricides. An attempt was made to correlate repellency with chemical constituents of fruit extracts of the most repellent accessions to identify chemical sources of repellency. Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, the pungent components of pepper fruit, were not correlated with toxicity or repellency, indicating that these are not likely related to the toxicity or repellency of the pepper fruit extracts. Other, unidentified chemicals are likely responsible for toxicity and repellency to the two-spotted spider mite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1391
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Richard Thacker for his technical assistance in spider mite testing and Zachary Ray for his kind assistance in preparing hot pepper crude extracts. This investigation was supported by a grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA/CSREES to Kentucky State University under agreement No. KYX-2004-15102.


  • Bioassay
  • Capsaicinoids
  • Capsicum spp.
  • Mortality
  • Pepper chemical composition
  • Pepper extracts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


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