Natural spider repellent may sound great, but is it an effective solution for an infestation? Learn how repellent may affect the spiders in your home.
Using a natural spider repellent may sound great to you, but it sounds even better to the spiders in your home. These so-called ‟repellents” are nothing more than ingredients many spiders are accustomed to out in the wild. They even spin webs and live in some of them. In a sense, all you're doing is creating a natural environment for the spider in your home – not naturally repelling them.
One bad apple spoils the bunch
One of the most common ingredients thought to act as a natural spider repellent is the hedge apple, a fruit that comes from the Osage-orange tree. This tale is spun across the Midwest, but in the end, it's just another web of lies. The Department of Horticulture and the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University cleared up the myth about hedge apples, saying:
"The use of the hedge apples for insect control is one of the most enduring pest management home remedies. Placement of hedge apples around the foundation or inside the basement is claimed to provide relief from cockroaches, spiders, boxelder bugs, crickets and other pests. The use of hedge apples as a pest solution is communicated as a folk tale complete with testimonials about apparent success.
However, there is an absence of scientific research and therefore no valid evidence to confirm the claims of effectiveness. Although insect deterrent compounds have been extracted from hedge apples in laboratory studies, these do not provide a logical explanation about why hedge apples would work as claimed. At this time, there is nothing to recommend the use of hedge apples for pest control."
You can find any number of natural spider repellents concocted from myths like these on the shelves of your local hardware store. Some people even try to make their own. There is absolutely no scientific proof that any of these homeopathic ingredients or concoctions are more effective than another.
Don’t kid around with spiders
To show how these tall tales start, you need to understand the flimsy thought process behind them. A California State Science Fair held at the University of California reports on an experiment that "tests the spider repellency of bitter melon and wasabi to that of a consumer-ready natural spider repellent." The store-bought natural repellent contained peppermint, and the findings were exactly what you would expect: the wasabi and bitter melon were "not significantly different in repelling properties than the commercial repellent."
It's a safe bet to say that lavender, tea tree oil, mint, cedar, citronella, vinegar, citrus, chestnuts, tobacco or any other theories about natural spider repellent won’t work any better. Take one look out your window and you can see spiders creating webs in these very same trees, bushes and other sources for these ingredients – even the Osage-orange tree. Some repellent that is.
The fact remains that if you want to take care of your arachnid problem, the real spider repeller wears a uniform that strikes fear into the heart of pests everywhere and shows up in a truck emblazoned with "Terminix®" on the side. Why repel them when you can just get rid of them? It's plain and simple.