Summary: Just because something is a home remedy does not mean it is not worth trying. The Osage orange is said to have terrific spider repellent attributes, but there is no science behind the claim. However, if it works for you that is all that matters.
A reader asks: I am looking for a grapefruit sized, avacado colored fruit or vegetable that is used to repel spiders. I have seen these used, but don't know where to get them?
Dear Reader: Every profession has its home remedies and people swear by them. I believe if you feel strongly enough about something and it does not hurt the environment, give it a try.
It is said that the fruit of the Osage orange tree, which is also known as a hedge apple or spider ball, can repel spiders. This theory is widespread in Midwestern states where the trees are common. Apparently, putting these aromatic hedge apples around the exterior walls of a house in the fall will keep spiders from coming inside.
Problem is there is no documented evidence that spiders are repelled by
Osage-oranges. Spiders can be found living on Osage orange trees. You can even find spider webs right on the fallen fruit. In fact, spiders seldom show any sign of being able to detect airborne odors.
Of course, once these stories get rolling they develop neat little twists. In some versions of the story the hedge apple can repel everything from cockroaches to mosquitoes to chicken mites. Research has shown that there are chemical compounds in the fruit that repel cockroaches, although the fruit itself does not. One method that definitely works is to pick up the hedge apple and smash the offending bug with it.
Osage oranges are even said to deter mice, but we know that squirrels regularly chew through these fruits to get the tasty seeds inside. So, using the hedge apple as a rodent repellent seems pretty ineffective.
In the Pacific Northwest where Osage oranges are fairly rare, Osage oranges have been replaced with horse chestnuts. Maybe its coconuts in Florida.
Click here to watch my short video on how to keep spiders in check.