Asked by: Jack Roberts, Cheshire
Putting conkers around the house to deter spiders is an old wives’ tale and there’s no evidence to suggest it really works. Spiders don’t eat conkers or lay eggs in them, so there is no reason why horse chestnut trees would bother to produce spider-repelling chemicals. There is no hard research on the subject, but pupils of Roselyon Primary School in Cornwall won a prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2010 for their informal study showing that spiders were unphased by conkers.
Spiders are most common indoors in the autumn months. At this time of year, male house spiders leave their webs and start wandering in search of females. If you hoover up all the spiders in your house, it will probably take a couple of weeks for the spiders to recolonise – regardless of whether or not you scatter conkers around the place.