Do Spiders Really Not Like Conkers?

A conker is a seed from the Horse Chestnut tree. The horse chestnut has been planted in the UK since the sixteenth century. The seeds contain saponin, a substance that makes foam when shook with water. These saponin-rich plants have long been used in soap making.

There is no proof that conkers repel spiders, and some experts have cast doubt on their effectiveness. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them to keep the critters out of your home.

Some people claim that conkers are an ancient means of deterring arachnids, although that has never been proved. Professor Fritz Vollrath, an academic research leader at the University of Oxford, is testing whether conkers can actually repel spiders.

The British Arachnological Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry have weighed in on the conker-spider debate. In fact, the RSC gave money to the Roselyon Primary School in Cornwall to test whether a conker actually makes a spider a shiver.

The RSC offered a prize of PS300 to anyone who could prove that a conker really does repel spiders. The winning entry was from the grade five class at the school.

Scientists have suggested that conkers contain a noxious chemical that causes spiders to curl up and die in a matter of days. They say that this chemical makes them’miraculously’ unappealing to the insect.

Those of you with spider-phobias may be wondering if this is true. Well, the British Arachnological Society claims that the spider-repelling properties of conkers are real, but no one can prove this.