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Pepper-Based Coating Protects Signs and Structures

Photo of a damaged sign that reads National Forest Trailhead one-quarter mile. Animals have damaged the top left corner and bottom center section of the sign.

Animals don’t make friends when they peck and chew buildings, signs, and equipment at Forest Service facilities around the country. A new coating that may alleviate this problem was tested recently by the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) at several Forest Service sites.

These preliminary tests produced some dramatic results. Porcupines were deterred from chewing treated signs, and horses and mules left corral rails alone. The coating may discourage woodpeckers from boring through wood siding and keep chipmunks and other small mammals from damaging plastics, such as equipment boxes and weather seals on overhead doors.

The active ingredient in this coating is a concentrated food-quality oleoresin capsicum extract. This extract is derived from a particularly potent strain of habanero peppers originally found in Central America. The coating is produced using a patented process that bonds the pepper extract molecularly to paints, stains, plastics, and rubberized products.

The tech tip, Quit Eating My Signs! Pepper-Based Coating Discourages Animals from Damaging Structures (0573–2313–MTDC), discusses these tests and includes information about ordering the product.

For additional information about coatings that discourage animals from damaging structures, contact Kathie Snodgrass, project leader (phone: 406–329–3922; e-mail:

To order the tech tip, contact MTDC publications (phone: 406–329–3978; e-mail:

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Disclaimer: The Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has developed this information for the guidance of its employees, its contractors, and its cooperating Federal and State agencies, and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of this information by anyone except its own employees. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this document is for the information and convenience of the reader, and does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202–720–2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call 202–720–5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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