In my area, there is a common belief that conkers (horse chestnuts) spread throughout the house deter spiders from entering.

A writer for About.com heard similar tales:

With a little more digging, I learned that conkers are thought to repel spiders indoors. An old wives' tale, if you'll pardon the expression, asserts that you should place horse chestnuts on windowsills and in corners of your rooms to keep spiders from entering the house. The conkers are thought to contain some kind of oil or chemical that spiders detest.

I wondered if this could be true.

I've had a quick browse myself but can't find anything objective to confirm or deny.

Do horse chestnuts deter spiders?

  • 3
    Can we do better than this? rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2010/Conkerswin.asp I confess to cynicism about reportage of science done by school-children.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 27, 2014 at 14:01
  • @Oddthinking - It's certainly better than nothing and presents some degree of supporting evidence in favor of the null hypothesis, but although it presents the impression of scientific rigor there is no real objectivity and it's not reproducible from that article.
    – Rudi
    Aug 27, 2014 at 14:24


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