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Using Hedge Apples to Repel Spiders

Category Spiders
Hedge apples have a long standing reputation as a spider repellent. This is a guide about using hedge apples to repel spiders.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 7, 20120 found this helpful

Do I put them out whole or cut them in half? How many do I put in each room?

By Jody

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October 8, 20120 found this helpful

I used whole hedge apples in my house to run out spiders, and was I ever wrong in doing it! They drew gnats, my house was full of them! And then they rotted. Gross! I got rid of them, got rid of the gnats, and learned a lesson. :-)

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October 8, 20121 found this helpful

They should only be used outside the home. I have heard conflicting stories about whether they work or not. My daughter used them outside and had great luck but from what I have read, they do not work at all. At any rate, if you try them, leave them whole and put them outside the home around the foundation.

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October 9, 20120 found this helpful

I have used them and told to use them outside the house because they will draw ants etc.

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October 12, 20121 found this helpful

I have successfully placed hedge apples (also known as Osage oranges) around the house without drawing ants or gnats and have left them 'til they dried up or almost rotted. It's best to place them on a saucer or in a re-used plastic container and not directly on the floor or carpet. It may also depend on what area of the country in which you live whether or not they attract ants/gnats.

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I wait until after a good frost to harvest them from the ground. They then have that lovely fragrant aroma, which I would wear as a perfume!, which may act as the repellent. Blessings

Added info. I think Martha Stewart recommended slicing them, letting them dry in a slow oven, and using as Christmas ornaments. They are almost impossible to cut into. My dad almost ruined a saw doing that for me several years ago. The final product was not worth the effort!

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October 19, 20160 found this helpful

uses for horse apples

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September 11, 20140 found this helpful

When hedgeapples turn brown, or rotten, do they still work? Also, can you freeze then to use later when they are not in season?

By Rosie L.

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September 13, 20143 found this helpful

Article from University of Nebraska @ Lincoln

Facts and Myths of Hedge Apples
by Dr. Barbara Ogg, Extension Educator

This article appeared in the October 2001 NEBLINE Newsletter

This time of year, hedge apples - the fruit from the Osage-orange tree - are being sold at farmer's markets, garden centers, and other locations. Many people have heard that these fruits can be used as an insect repellent, but the truth is that many people don't know much else about this unusual tree and its fruit.

The Tree and Its Fruit:

The Osage-orange is a small to medium-sized tree, having a short trunk and a rounded or irregular crown. The twigs are buff to orange-brown and are armed with one-half inch long spines. The stems exude a milky sap when cut. The Osage-orange is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers are produced on separate trees. The small, green flowers appear in May or June. Female trees produce 3-to 5-inch diameter fruit which ripen in September or October and fall to the ground.

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Native Habitat and Current Distribution:

The Osage-orange is native to a small area in eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and southwestern Arkansas. This region is the home of the Osage Indians which gives the tree its common name. Settlers found that the Osage-orange transplanted easily, tolerated poor soils, extreme heat, and strong winds and had no serious insect or disease problems. It was widely planted in the Midwest as a living fence because, when pruned into a hedge, it provided an impenetrable barrier to livestock. The development of barbed wire curtailed its widespread planting, but many Osage-orange trees can still be found in fence rows.

Uses of the Osage-Orange:

The wood is extremely hard, heavy, durable and shrinks or swells little compared to the wood of other trees. The wood is used for fence posts, treenails, furniture, and archery bows. In fact, many archers consider the wood of the Osage-orange to be the world's finest wood for bows. Another common name for this tree, bodark, is from the French bios d'arc meaning "bow wood." This tree also produces a bright yellow dye which can be extracted from the wood.

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The fruit of the Osage-orange is a nuisance in the home landscape and has little value. Hedge apples are not an important source of food for wildlife as most birds and animals find the fruit unpalatable. The thorny trees do provide nesting and cover for wildlife.

The belief about the use of hedge apples for insect control is widespread and persistent. it is claimed that placing hedge apples around the foundation or inside the basement will repel or control insects. A few years ago, Iowa State University toxicologists extracted compounds from hedge apples. When concentrated, these compounds were found to repel insects.

Scientists also found that natural concentrations of these compounds in the fruit were too low to be an effective repellent. So, don't be fooled into spending much to use hedge apples as an insect repellent.

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If you decide to pick hedge apples to check out the repellency yourself or to use the fruit as a fall decoration, it would be wise to wear gloves. The milky juice present in the stems and fruit of the Osage-orange can irritate the skin.

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September 13, 20140 found this helpful

Dinah, great article, thanks for posting it. Very informative.

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Anonymous
October 18, 20170 found this helpful

I break out to poison ivy and tomato plants, never to a hedge apples!!

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By 1 found this helpful
November 29, 2010

I have hedge apples and I noticed one looked like it has been eaten. I also have dogs that could of eaten them, but do spiders eat the hedge apples?

By brittany

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

Our dogs won't touch the things but we have plenty of squirrels in the area that munch on the hedge apples. If you have squirrels nearby, I'd "hedge" my bets on the fact that it was them and not the dogs snacking on the crop. :-)

I've never heard anything about spiders eating or being repelled by them. But, if you ever get a cricket caught in the house that you can hear, but cannot find, put a green hedge apple in the room and that cricket will disappear! (I honestly don't know if they die or just leave, but the noise stops!)

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September 19, 20130 found this helpful

My family has used Hedge balls (hedge apples) for many years. They seem to work amazing for us. We just one ball in each corner of our basements.

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September 2, 20140 found this helpful

I have used Hedge Apples for years to repel what I call dust spiders in the basement. They are the spiders that have long legs, very small body compared to their legs and make cob webs in the floor joists connecting to anything from the floor to the walls. I use about 6 or 7 spread around the basement at eye level and higher. They work! What eats Hedge Apple? I've seen rodents, squirrels, and white tail deer eating them. Deer especially, when fruit is soft.

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October 5, 20130 found this helpful

Do hedge apples harm kids, dogs, or cats?

By Char

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October 7, 20130 found this helpful

This is an old wive's tale. Google it and you will see.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 29, 20100 found this helpful

I can't find info anywhere explaining if you have to cut open the hedge apple to use it to repel spiders.

Judy

Answers:

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

You don't cut it. Just put it on a piece of tin foil. I put mine under the kitchen sink and in corner where my dogs won't get at it. It will shrink down to a walnut size. It doesn't seem to get moldy or anything. It works for spiders in my house. (11/27/2009)

By sheila

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

For a pretty good amount of info about hedge apples try Iowa State University College of Agriculture: search hedge apples or Osage orange.

Are you afraid of spiders, if so disregard this comment. Spider are useful insects and generally harmless. They produce a fantastic beautiful web that a lot of photographers like to take pictures of especially when loaded with early morn dew. A few are poisonous, but left alone hardly ever harm you. (12/03/2009)

By David

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

They also work good in my house keeping spiders out! I just set them around in those plastic disposable bowls. No need to cut them open! (12/04/2009)

By Mary

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Did they draw gnats in your home? I am horrified of spiders. Twice a year we have our house sprayed. I have read about using hedge apples so I decided to try them this year. I asked my friend, a wise old gal, and she said, "Yes, they repel spiders, but they draw gnats!" Since I am not afraid of gnats, I opted for the hedge apples. Am I ever sorry! I gathered the hedge apples up and trashed them, with a buzzing cloud of gnats surrounding me. Tonight I will put apple cider vinegar out, hoping to get rid of the gnats. (11/13/2010)

By kerly87

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November 26, 20090 found this helpful

To eliminate spiders, place hedge apples near the locations that spiders build their webs. Place the hedge apple on something that can be thrown away with the hedge apple after it deteriorates into a lump. This does not seem to kill the spiders, but acts as a repellent.

Source: common folk knowledge - just something people seem to know

By Choelizath from Gowdy, IN

Answers:

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Conkers (chestnuts) do the same job although I have yet to try it. There is a spray with chestnut oil in it as well. (10/16/2009)

By marion davidson

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I'm so glad the archive refers to the Burke Museum website about spider myths, which are everywhere. The comment on Osage orange containing insect-repellent substances shouldn't be surprising, but is irrelevant, since spiders aren't insects and don't eat Osage orange or absorb anything from walking on them.
Osage orange, horse chestnut or copper pennies won't work. Overcoming that irrational fear of spiders, with the website's help, might. (10/19/2009)

By P

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Raid works great. Just spray it around your doors and windows or right on the spiders. (11/07/2009)

By john

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October 13, 20090 found this helpful

Where you have a problem with spiders and other creepy crawling critters, put hedge apples, the "fruit" off an Osage Orange tree in the place where the spiders are and in a few days you'll not have your creepy crawling critters any longer.

By Terri

Answers:

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Where can I find a Osage Orange Tree. I live in Tulsa, OkK(05/28/2005)

By Carol

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

They grow throughout the midwest. You could call around to nurseries near where you live. They say that they grow in zones 4-9.
(05/28/2005)

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I have never heard of Hedge Apples. Where do you get these. We have black widows around our house and other spiders. I would love to get rid of them. (05/29/2005)

By Gayle

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

They must work better than chestnuts! I've seen a spider nest BEHIND a chestnut in a corner! heh. I am sooo arachnophobic, thanks for the tip. (06/28/2005)

By Garrett

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

We have hedge apples everywhere and they don't seem to help at all. I have even seen spiders crawl right beside them. I just put them by the doors and around in the garden. Am I doing something wrong?
(10/17/2005)

By Tonia

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

This is a myth. Go to this link:

http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/spidermyth/myths/skineggs.html (04/25/2006)

By John

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Actually the "myth" about hedge apples is half true as quoted from the site link below if you wish to read the whole article

"The belief about the use of hedge apples for insect control is widespread and persistent. it is claimed that placing hedge apples around the foundation or inside the basement will repel or control insects. A few years ago, Iowa State University toxicologists extracted compounds from hedge apples. When concentrated, these compounds were found to repel insects.

Scientists also found that natural concentrations of these compounds in the fruit were too low to be an effective repellent. So, don't be fooled into spending much to use hedge apples as an insect repellent."
(09/24/2007)

By Amie

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Don't pay good money for Hedge Apples! I live in Iowa "right in the Midwest" and we get lots of spiders this time of year. We use hedge apples to get rid of them disgusting spiders and they work wonderful. We live in the country and have lots and lots of hedge apples. If you would pay the shipping cost I would be more then happy to mail you a box of hedge apples. They are free for us since they grow on our property, so I am offering them to you at no cost. Only the cost to mail them. If interested then please let me know.
Sincerley, Kim (10/27/2007)

By Kimberley

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I don't know about "hedge apples", but I do know that horse chestnuts worked for us. I've read that they are the same things, but from the pictures I've seen I don't believe that's true.

We moved to a house that was totally infested with those awful little white spiders. I don't mind spiders generally, but I hate those little white ones - if you get them they seem to be everywhere. We collected horse chestnut "conkers" (the green balls with large spikes that look like a medieval mace) and put them in the corners of the room. Worked like magic.

Two considerations:

1) I think they only work for so long; although they seemed to permanently rid our house of spiders, the same ones used at my in-laws (about three years old at that point) had much less effect. We collected fresh ones the next fall, and those seemed to work.

2) In our experience it's the actual chestnut that repels spiders: they had to be ripe enough to expose the chestnut underneath to work. My father-in-law's experience was that he found a spider sitting on top of an unripe green spiky conker. When he replaced that with a ripe open one (with the chestnut exposed) the spiders disappeared. (07/29/2008)

By Guest

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I use them every year in the Fall when they fall off the trees. I put them in the corner of a room where we get small spider mites and small spiders. They are there 2-3 months and work extremely well keeping the spiders away. They are totally gone the whole time the hedge apples are in the corners of the room. I wish there was a way to keep them there all year around, but they do start to rot after 2 or 3 months. (08/16/2008)

By Donna

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I don't know about the spider control, but they do repel roaches. When I was in college, my dorm was infested with roaches. My great aunt suggested hedge apples. I put them in the corners of our room and we were the only ones roach free on our floor. So that is my testimonial. (10/09/2008)

By Leesa

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

Yes they are the best to use for repelling spiders I've tried it and I haven't seen a spider around in months I change them every month. I was amazed not seeing them around. Before I tried hedge apples I saw recluses all the time but now I don't see them at all and I can rest easier. Being bit by a recluse, you don't forget how painful it is with that first bite, let alone the damage it can do. (10/27/2008)

By CJ.

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

In Central Illinois hedge apples were widely believed to repel roaches and other insects. Whether they have any value in repelling mice is not certain in my mind, but they can't hurt. In the IL tradition the apples are sliced open, exposing the fleshy parts, and indeed this may be why those who report no effect do so, they may not be slicing the apples.

They dry and wrinkly but cause no detectable odor even in pantries, behind refrigerators in kitchens etc. I have sliced hedge apples under shelves in my garage and in select places in my kitchen/pantry area. If they were not toxic, they would not be considered dangerous for children to handle and they would not cause dermititus in some folks. Don't eat or handle them carelessly but hey that's what we say about most insect and rodent baits and treatments. Cheers. (11/01/2008)

By peruano

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I have used the hedge apples and found them to attract fruit flies when they begin to rot and get a month old. They seem to work as a repellent but the fly's are now driving me crazy. (12/26/2008)

By Edie

Hedge Apples Repel Spiders

I didn't believe about the Hedge apples until I tried them. Yes, they do work but you have to know exactly what to do. Split each one in fourths and put one in each corner of each room you want to repel the spiders. I need to get some new Hedge apples now as it has been 4 months and I am beginning to see the spiders again. (02/27/2009)

By Scaredy Cat

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