I nearly peed my pants when I saw the big green balls laying everywhere in Ensley Park last week when we were in Topeka! I don't even remember the last time I saw a Bodark tree, they are kind of hard to find. My Grandpa had them as fence row trees, to mark the boundaries of his pastures. Scrubby and gnarled, he attached barbed wire to them and for decades they did the job of holding the cattle in. By the 1960's he began to replace all of those fences with posts and new barbed wire, and in time the trees simply died.
Osage Orange, hedge apples, horse apple, Bodark, I've heard all of these names to describe them, they are a favorite of squirrels but poison to humans. Folklore tells us that hedge apples deter spiders, crickets, bugs and cockroaches from getting in your garage or basement. If you Google for info, you see that it's true, one university study showed that a natural chemical in the hedge apple deters cock roaches. People put them in dark corners, by doorways and porch steps to prevent insects from entering the house. Everyone that uses them swears that they work!
I don't remember a can of bug spray being a staple at my house as a kid, but the hedge apples were placed in the basement and in the garage and I don't recall ever seeing bugs. Maybe not as well as a commercial pesticide, but they are a green choice for those of us who like that.
We had to dodge the falling bombs, they are heavy, but Aunt Nadine and I gathered up enough for her garage, her sister's and mine in a couple of minutes. We'll let you know if they work!