Using Hedge Apples to Repel Spiders

October 7, 2012

Whole and sliced Hedge Apples (Maclura pomifera) also known as Osage Oranges against a white backgroundDo 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, 20121 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, 20122 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, 20121 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, 20123 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.


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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August 10, 20190 found this helpful

I know many of you are experienced gardeners, but some may be new. If you see an insect or spider, dont just automatically squish it.


Leave it be if it is not bothering you, or you know of some reason that it is destructive to plants and crops in your area.

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August 26, 20192 found this helpful

My grandpa always hung them up in nylons or netting or something like that never had spiders and they never rotted.... I always remember these being around growing up lol!

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September 15, 20191 found this helpful

The old saying is to let the bodock fruit dry first n a cool dry place before putting them n ur house thts wus the old wise tail I've always been told I had about 12 drying and I con my neighbors kids thought they were made to play with cause they come up missing but thts what my grandparents always told me to use the is dry them n they wld be 100% effective thnks

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September 29, 20190 found this helpful

I researched this and drew the conclusion that they do work! Look. When we first bought one, we put it in the house near our patio door and lo and behold, one by one by one spiders started coming INSIDE! I looked this up and found that an article mentioned how spiders actually build their nest in the trees which they grow.


It baffles my mind why nothing I read shows anyone who figured this out . THEY DONT REPEL SPIDERS! THEY DRAW SPIDERS! This is why people who store them outside the house report success. Those who do otherwise, dont.
So if you want success, remember, they dont repel. They attract. You're welcome!

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6 More Questions

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.

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


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, 20131 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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September 11, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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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October 18, 20170 found this helpful

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

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October 5, 2013

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

October 13, 2009

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.

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November 29, 2010

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

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November 26, 2009

To eliminate spiders, place hedge apples near the locations that spiders build their webs.

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