Putting conkers in the corners of your home is said to keep spiders at bay during mating season, but there is some debate around whether the old wives’ tale actually works
Spider mating season begins in early September the eight-legged guests can often be found lurking in every corner of your home.
And as panicked Brits take to Google to try and find a way to keep the creepy crawlies at bay, one old wives’ tale has left many asking the same question – do conkers actually repel spiders?
The old wives’ tale claims that conkers release a noxious chemical that will cause a spider to curl up and die within just one day of them coming into contact with it.
And while some people swear by the supposed spider deterrent, others have dismissed it completely – and now an expert has had a say.
According to Dr Geoff Oxford of the British Arachnological Society, the myth was totally debunked in 2010 by the Royal Society of Chemists (RSC), as reported by Daily Star.
The RSC offered a £300 reward to anyone who could provide scientific evidence surrounding the theory, and gave the money to pupils at Roselyon Primary School in Cornwall after they found conkers made no difference to spiders’ behaviour.
The students placed spiders in boxes with horse chestnuts, but found the spiders just walked over them.
And in a further study, the children placed spiders in a water tank with two bridges – one made of conkers, and the other made of wood.
The kids found that in many cases, the spiders actively chose the conkers bridge over the wooden one, dismissing the theory that the arachnids can’t stand the smell.
Stuart Hine at the Natural History Museum also previously said there is no scientific evidence to support the claim, and instead urged people to try tested methods of repelling spiders such as lavender and citrus fruits.
He said: “Conkers does rhyme with bonkers and I know of no science behind this idea.
“That said not many insects find the horse chestnut very palatable unlike say the oak tree. It is likely that there are some chemicals that they find unpalatable.
“There are however a dozen other things I would try before conkers, such as lavender or citrus fruits. Insect repellents are usually aromatic in nature.”
The most effective home remedies for keeping spiders at bay involve diluting an ingredient in water and pouring the mixture into a spray bottle.
Peppermint oil, lavender oil, and white vinegar are all known to repel spiders when mixed with water and sprayed in corners, as well as around windows and doors.
You can also rub lemon peel in the same areas, as spiders apparently can’t stand the smell of citrus fruits.