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Battle Beetles

What You Need:

• Garden or park
• Cayenne (red) pepper, vinegar, lemon juice
• Paper and pencil

Tip: Be sure to wash your hands with hot soapy water when you're done with this experiment.

Question: How can you stop bugs from eating plants?

1) First, locate plants in a garden or park that have leaves that are full of holes. This is a sign that bugs have been munching on them.

2) Then, spread cayenne pepper on some of the leaves.

3) Observe, or watch, how any bugs react to the pepper. Do they stay off the leaves? Or, do the bugs ignore the pepper and keep munching?

4) Write down any observations you notice about how the bugs react to the pepper.

5) Now, try the other substances and see how the bugs react to them. Continue to write down your observations. Which substance worked best to keep bugs away?

A Scientific Explanation:

Keeping bugs off plants with natural products such as hot pepper or vinegar is known as organic farming. Organic means that the plant is grown without using chemical pesticides. Organic farming is one way to protect animals who may eat these bugs from harmful pesticides.


What other natural substances can you think of that might keep bugs away? Repeat the experiment and test how they work. Remember to write down your observations.