Do conkers keep spiders away? – The Sun | The Sun

WE'VE all heard the famous old wives' tale that spiders are scared of horse chesnuts.

But how much truth is behind it? And does leaving conkers lying around the house actually have an effect on the creepy crawlies?

Do conkers keep spiders away?

While many people use products, such as cleaning sprays, others rely on leaving horse chestnuts on window ledges and under sofas to deter the arachnids from taking shelter in their home.

But does it really work, or is it an altogether pointless exercise?

Scientists have cast doubt on the theory and are divided over whether the saponin found in conkers is actually an effective spider repellent.

German chemist Hartmut Foerster described the chemical as “toxic” to insects. However, spiders aren’t insects, and other people say it gives a smell that actually works in repelling spiders.

Dr. Geoff Oxford of the British Arachnological Society argued that the Royal Society of Chemists debunked the conker myth in 2010.

While, in 2010, pupils of Roselyon Primary School in Cornwall waded into the debate when they won a prize from the RSC that year for their informal study showing that spiders were not phased by conkers.

In the study, the kids placed spiders in boxes with conkers and found the arachnids simply climbed over the seeds and carried on as normal/

They also showed that when the spiders were placed in a water tank with the choice of a wooden or conkers bridge,  many opted for the conkers bridge.



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Why do spiders come into homes?

Come later summer, spiders tend to flock to shelter, whereas early autumn marks the time for them to find a mate in preparation for winter.

With that in mind, giant house spiders are said to be eyeing up breeding grounds under the nation's sofas and beds as soon as the spider-nesting season starts.

They are said to seek out white walls and surfaces so they stand out to potential mates — which explains why they often seem to appear in the bath.

Naturalist Malcolm D Welshman said the warm summer in 2017 produced more flies for the spiders to feed on and, with increased food, the population dramatically increased.



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So much so that terrifying photos showed giant “sex-starved spiders” in homes – with some so big they set off burglar alarms.

The spiders, that go by the scientific name Eratigena atrica, can grow up to three inches in size and are among the quickest in the world covering two feet per second.

But reassuring arachnophobes and other panicked people, Simon Garrett, head of Conservation Learning at Bristol Zoological Society, said: "Spiders don't specifically want to enter your home. In fact, they'd rather stay away as there's less food and it's too dry and clean.

"It is the need to mate that changes their behaviour."

What are other ways to stop spiders coming into my house?

There are countless other ways that have been tried and tested that will help to ward off a full-scale arachnid invasion:

  • Spraying peppermint scented air freshener around your home is a popular trick used by homeowners, as spiders – as well as other creepy crawlies – hate the smell of mint.
  • Homeowners are also advised to hoover their floors and carpets regularly so to pick up any stray crumbs that can attract bugs that spiders love to feast on.
  • Remove any webs that crop up and try to fill in any gaps in pipework, door and window frames, skirting boards and masonry to keep them out.

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  • People are encouraged to remove any sheltering sites, like compost piles and garden bags, from the outside of your home. This will deter the beasties.
  • Another tip is to use lighting that is less attractive to the flies which spiders feed on, therefore not attracting them in turn.
  • Animals, in particular cats, chase anything that moves and will fight off those unwanted bugs before you notice they are even there.

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