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Family Forced Out of Home by Venomous Spider Infestation

Brian and Susan Trost thought they had found their dream house when they bought a $450,000 home with prime views of the third and fourth holes at Whitmoor Country Club. They soon found out the house had been vacant for two years because of a creepy crawly problem. According to one estimate, the house was infested with between 4,500 and 6,000 brown recluse spiders, reported the St. Louis Dispatch.

The problem started in October 2007. Walking around her new home on her first day there, she noticed a large stringy web wrapped around one of the light fixtures and webs in the bar area downstairs. She had not noticed this on the walk-through date. When pulling on a piece of loose wallpaper, a spider skittered behind it. Thinking the house probably just needed a thorough cleaning, she got to work.

In the following days, she came across spiders and webs everywhere. They were in the mini blinds, the air registers, the pantry ceiling, the fireplace and their exoskeletons were falling from the can lights. She even dodged a spider that fell from the ceiling during a shower that she washed down the drain. But it wasn’t until she heard her 4-year-old son screaming frantically from the basement and saw a spider inches from his foot. She trapped it in a plastic bag and looked it up on the internet – it was a brown recluse.

Out of the 300 kinds of spiders that can be found in Missouri, only two are potentially harmful – the brown recluse and the black widow, both being able to inflict bites that can cause severe pain and infection. Even though the brown recluse spiders are not aggressive and deaths from these spider bites are extremely rare, it still does not stop people from being fearful.

The family was forced out of their home, for the recluse infestation was described as “immense” by a biology professor. A tenting and fumigating method is now being used which involves covering the home with tarps and filling it with sulfuryl fluoride gas that permeated the walls to kill not only the spiders, but their eggs.