Ostrich egg remedy for greenhouses lures Turkish investors

Ostrich egg remedy for greenhouses lures Turkish investors

KIRŞEHİR - Anadolu Agency
Ostrich egg remedy for greenhouses lures Turkish investors

AA photo

Turkish greenhouse owners are using a centuries-old remedy inspired by the famous Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan, to keep spiders and insects away from their harvest: Ostrich eggs.

According to Hacı Gedikaslan, who for the last 20 years has been in the business of breeding ostriches, the eggs are not only more effective than most strong pesticides, but there is actually a profitable market for them if sold as repellents.

“I’m having a hard time keeping up the supply of eggs to the greenhouses in the [Mediterranean] Mersin and Antalya provinces. Since spiders do not come to places where ostrich egg is placed, there is a significant demand from greenhouse owners there,” Gedikaslan said.

Ostrich eggs have a price tag of 100 Turkish liras ($30) each at farms but the price can go up to 150 liras ($50) per egg in big cities such as the capital Ankara and Istanbul, he added.

The use of ostrich eggs as repellents against insects was made famous by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in his masterpiece Süleymaniye Mosque, which was built in 1557 in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.

The architect had kept ostrich eggs in the center of chandeliers dangling from the mosque dome to keep insects, attracted by candles and oil lamps, away.

Sinan’s remedy helped keep the 26 meter (85 feet) wide dome clean. Over 400 years, however, most such eggs were either broken or they were stolen. Some 30 of them still remain in Süleymaniye Mosque.

It is believed that ostrich eggs emit odors which insects such as spiders find unbearable, but the smell is said to be undetectable by the human nose.