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Osage Oranges as a Spider Repellent

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Osage orange trees are related to mulberries. In the mid-19th century, farmers and ranchers planted them in tightly-packed rows as hedges and makeshift fences. The citrus-scented fruit is what some people believe keeps away spiders.


Osage oranges, also known as hedge apples, are softball-size fruits that ripen in early autumn and eventually fall to the ground. Hulls are tough, difficult to open and the fruit inside is not a significant source of nutrition for animals. However, the seeds are edible and favored by squirrels.


Many people place hedge apples along the perimeter of their homes or in basements and crawl spaces as an insect repellant. Folklore describes hedge apples as a preventative that keeps away spiders, cockroaches, crickets and other insects.

Scientific Evidence

Iowa State University conducted tests on hedge apples and discovered a chemical inside the fruit that repels cockroaches. However, the university cautioned that "whole fruit have not been proven to repel or control insects in homes."

Hedge Balls For A Spider Repellent

Huge, green, nubby and woven into gardening lore, the fruit of the Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) litters the ground around trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Spiders are ever-present in most yards and gardens, sometimes making their way inside. Folklore says that if you place halved or whole Osage orange fruits around structures, it will repel pests like spiders. Spiders in the house come in on boxes or sneak in through cracks and other small openings. If spiders are a persistent problem, make sure all your screens are properly installed and fit tightly, door sweeps are snug against the floor and that trim is properly caulked before you break out the hedge apples. Removing hiding places, like boxes piled in garages, basements and other low-traffic areas will eliminate suitable nesting sites because destroying pest insect populations makes food scarce.

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