Spiders and Conkers Myth: Do Conkers Keep Spiders Away?

You must have come here because you were interested to know the truth about spiders and conker. Or you’ve heard something about the pair and are interested in what it’s about. Or maybe you’re looking for a way to keep spiders away from your house. 

You’re in the right place. In this article, we talk about the myth and whether what people say is true. 

So here is the myth about conkers and spiders: It is said that since conkers or horse chestnuts as they are also known, contain a natural substance called saponin which repels spiders. Because of this, people have been saying that spiders can be kept away by placing conkers around their most common entryways in your home. 

Difference between conkers and chestnuts

What is the difference between conkers and chestnuts, you may ask? Well, conkers are the nuts of a horse chestnut tree. They are toxic and not suitable as food for people or animals. The outer of the conker is green, thick, coarse, lumpy and has some pointy bits. Conkers are bigger than chestnuts. 

Chestnuts also have a green shell, but it has finer points and more than a conker’s. You can safely eat chestnuts. Conkers, on the other hand, can be used as medicine because of their toxicity. 

Are spiders scared of conkers?

Do conkers keep spiders away? It has never been proven that this is true. In fact, over the years scientists and regular people have tried a number of experiments to determine whether this is real. Conkers are also said to repel other insects such as moths, lice, fleas, and ticks. You can check out this story with images from a local man proving that this myth is just a myth.

In 2010 a group of middle schoolers also did an experiment which proved the statement to be just an old wives’ tale. They placed several spiders in a box half of which is blocked with conkers and the other side with some other objects. When released the spiders walked all around the box and over the two kinds of barriers, including the conkers. Thus they proved that spiders are not afraid of conkers. 

So this also answers the questions “Are spiders scared of conkers?” and “Do conkers keep spiders away from the house?”

If you were considering collecting the nuts and placing them around your house, don’t bother. Try other effective methods to get rid of spiders. 

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What smells do spiders hate?

People looking for natural ways to get rid of spiders or to keep them at bay turn to natural smells. There are some scents that people speculate spiders hate and will avoid at all costs. Such is the smell of peppermint, citrus, vinegar, even tobacco. 

There’s an abundance of articles mentioning the usage of citrus peels, vinegar sprays, or essential oils (e.g. tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus). Disperse them around the house and most common entryways, potted plants, windows, wall or floor cracks, etc. 

If you’re interested in reading a scientific article, this one out which tells about the experiments with natural sents scientists did a couple of years ago. The article also mentions horse chestnuts as a way to keep spiders away.

However, what oppugns this theory is the fact that if these methods worked well, there wouldn’t be the need for insecticides. Or professional spider exterminators would try using oranges to treat your spider-infested house instead of instant-kill products.

Check also:

What attracts spiders to your house?

Common UK spiders.

What do spiders eat?

Do you swallow spiders while you sleep?


You can see, not everything you hear or read about spider control is true. Throw away your bag of conkers, if you’ve already collected some to try them. As a professional pest company, our advice is to contact your local extermination team if you suffer from a heavy spider infestation.

Often times DIY pest control ends up worsening the problem. So do not waste your time and take adequate care of your house as soon as you spot any type of pest infestation. 

Image source: Oskar Kadaksoo on Unsplash

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One Response

  1. Rhianna Lynch says:

    I can understand pest control for mice and rats, but spiders do no harm. They themselves are pest controllers.

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