Growing up, this was the time of year I would start to notice "hedge balls" or "hedge apples" strategically being placed around the house. My mom would put these bright green bumpy fruits in every corner to help deter insects from spending the winter with us.

These weird-looking fruits are referred to as a "ghost of evolution" as they are rarely eaten by humans and other animals. Instead, they are grown in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and sold as a way to keep your home bug free.

The belief about the use of hedge apples for insect control is widespread and persistent. it is claimed that placing hedge apples around the foundation or inside the basement will repel or control insects.

The actual effectiveness of hedge balls is debated. GardenGuides.com recommends cutting them instead of leaving them whole:

To use them as spider repellent, slice the fruit to release the chemicals contained within and lay the fruit slices around your home's foundation or in your basement.

Coborn's has a sign recommending leaving them whole and placing them in tin foil before placing them around your home. This is just to catch any juices that might leak out of them. They last 2-3 months and should be replaced when most of the green is gone.

I'm not totally convinced that they work, but I'm not convinced they don't. My mom did it my entire life and we never had a spider problem. I have a few set up around my own basement just in case.

Abbey Minke
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