Spider Repellents and Basil
Answered by: Conrad Richter and Inge Poot
Question from: Ed Lewkowicz
Posted on: February 16, 2006

Is it true that fresh basil can be used to keep spiders away from your house?

I have not heard of basil being effective in repelling spiders.

I have checked standard sources for companion planting and uses of herbs in our library , such as "Handbook of Plants with Pest-Control Properties" by Michael Grainge and Saleem Ahmed (Wiley, 1988) and none of them mention basil in connection with spiders.

Basil like many herbs have volatile essential oils that probably have a repellent property on their predators. These scents are what give the plants their scent and flavour, so while herbs such as basil are tasty to us, they are designed to repel certain pests. Therefore, it is certainly worth a try.

Here are some of the spider repellent remedies I have been able to find:

Chestnuts put around the exterior of rooms, but it does not say if these are sweet (Castanea sp.) or horse (Aesculus sp.) chestnuts.

Maclura pomifera fruits ("Bois d’arc", "Osage Orange") cut into quarters and put into the four corners of the affected room(s) are said to repel spiders.

Dusting doorways and sills with lemon pledge, or spraying same with Victor brand safe insecticide (mint oil + bit of detergent + a bit of other oil), or with the water(I gallon) from boiling tobacco( I packet of chewing tobacco) + adding (1/2 cup) lemon dish soap.

Electronic bug devices are available for about US$ 35 each. The emit a high pitched frequency that we cannot hear, but the target pest can. You need one per floor in your house -and make sure you get one tuned for bugs and not rodents. Do not use if you have pets that are the same type of animal as your target pest!

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