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Here is a common question: 

Q:  We live in the city limits, on a creek, backing to a golf course and have no dog. We are literally plagued with rabbits, have spent hundreds of dollars buying blood meal and a spray that is supposed to control deer, squirrels and rabbits, in addition to hundreds of dollars replanting jasmine in our flower beds. Now we have found a hole in the scrubs where, we suspect, the rabbits have dug a warren. Since we live in the city a pellet gun is out of the question. And, yes, we have had city owned traps in our yard at length and the rabbits just go around the traps. What can we do to control this situation? Brenda K.

A: Spray the plants with Tabasco sauce at 1 oz. per gallon of water. Research? Yes, the original tests were done on agricultural crops in Amsterdam.


Dutch Farmers Turn to Tabasco Sauce to Keep Rabbits Away

Dutch farmers have found a hot new way to keep rabbits, birds and rodents away from their crops. Tabasco sauce. The new initiative seems to be making everyone happy.

Everyone that is, except for the rabbits, who farmers say jump a meter in the air and run for cover after tasting the spicy sauce. Farmers say its working. And animal protection spokesman Niels Doorlandt calls it a wonderful alternative to the shotgun.

"This initiative is a perfect example of how you can get rid of the problem without killing the animals or harming them in any way," he says. "It could be possible that the lips of the rabbits are hurt by the Tabasco, but the next time the rabbit will think, 'Don't do this again,' so they won't use their teeth to eat our precious crops."

Local farmers tried other remedies first: garlic sauce and Worcestershire sauce. But apparently nothing keeps the rabbits and rodents away quite like Tabasco. So far, it has been used on lettuce, green beans, barley and wheat, with tests under way on young apple and cherry trees. It takes about five small bottles to spray one hectare of crops.

The Dutch distributor says farmers have had problems keeping the spicy sauce on the crops because of the rainy Dutch climate, but they believe they have solved that problem by mixing the sauce with a sticky substance. The concoction is only sprayed on parts of the plant that are not harvested to spare the taste buds of consumers.

There still needs to be more research before Dutch officials give Tabasco use their stamp of approval, allowing distributors to sell it on a large scale. Meanwhile, the Tabasco company is said to be happy, although they are not advertising this latest use of their product, yet. (Lauren Comiteau, October 22, 2004)

Another product available in stores is Rabbit Scram. Rather than spraying, Rabbit Scram is a natural organic granular repellant that is effective and safe to use around children, pets and your vegetables.
Tabasco sauce appears to be the best solution.

Here is some back up for the idea.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch farmers have devised a hot and spicy way to stop rabbits and rodents from munching their lettuce, carrots and wheat.

Spraying fields with the American sauce Tabasco sends the rabbits "three feet in the air" with shock and running for cover, said a spokesman for a local agriculture cooperative.

The Dutch animal protection society is happy with the spicy repellent, unworried by the possibility of burned bunny mouths.

"Preventive measures are exactly what we want. It's better than going into the fields with a shotgun," said animal welfare spokesman Niels Doorlandt.

The farmers will now try to make Tabasco an officially recognized pesticide for subsidized use on a larger scale. At least five small supermarket-sized bottles of the spicy sauce are needed for spraying 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of crops.

Although rain washes the Tabasco off, the crops are only sprayed in the first phases of growth to spare the taste buds of human consumers.

Another product available in stores is Rabbit Scram. Rather than spraying, Rabbit Scram is a natural organic granular repellant that is effective and safe to use around children, pets and your vegetables.
Q: I read the post about Tabasco/water mix keeping rabbits away. I have tried all the commercially prepared products and each year the rabbits sit in my garden, chewing happily, laughing at my attempts! I have several specific questions:
  1. Can you spray this tabasco/water mix on tomato plants?
  2. Is there any vegetable that it cannot be sprayed on?
  3. Does it hinder the growth of the plants in any way?
  4. Does it change the taste of the vegetables or does washing carefully remove it?
PLEASE respond ASAP as my garden is up and growing and will be destroyed soon by all the rabbits! 

A:  It can be sprayed on any plants and doesn't hurt the growth. If any taste is added, it would be for the better. Tabasco is just peppers, vinegar and garlic. Used at one oz per gallon of water, gardeners have had mixed results. You might also want to try the commercial product Rabbit Scram which works very well.

Follow Up:  So far the Tabasco in water is working great at keeping the rabbits away. I was very skeptical, but by this time last year the rabbits had completely destroyed my large vegetable garden and had eaten all my pansies. My garden looks gorgeous. The verdict is still out on how the veggies taste because nothing has harvested yet. But it has definitely kept the rabbits at bay! Teresa Y.

Marigolds are also reported to repel rabbits. They are beautiful and nice to have around the garden even if they don't control the bunnies.


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