Family Abandons Home Due To Massive Spider Infestation

Actual house and spiders not pictured. (Scott Lynch)

Actual house and spiders not pictured. (Scott Lynch)

There’s a lovely home near St. Louis that was once worth around $450,000, and now sits abandoned and in foreclosure. The last owners won a lawsuit against the previous owners for failing to disclose one really, really important thing about the house: it is infested with thousands of brown recluse spiders.

That’s a species of spider that is venomous, but rarely lashes out and attacks people. You know, that’s why they’re called “recluses.” Still, no one wants six thousand roommates, venomous or not, and the family was not happy about the infestation and less happy that the previous owners of the house hadn’t warned them.

The first hints of trouble were when the family noticed large spider webs on the light fixtures that hadn’t been there when they did their final walk-through before purchase. After they moved in, they began to find spiders everywhere: falling from the ceiling, crawling out of the walls, scampering up the window treatments.

Here’s where things get kind of weird: the previous owners’ insurance company, State Farm, defended them when the new owners sued them. There was a trial with a jury, and the new owners won an award of $472,110. However, they weren’t able to collect: the previous owners declared bankruptcy, and State Farm refused to pay the claim. Why? A spider infestation doesn’t count as actual damage to a home. Also, the policy rules out some very specific things, which include infestations of insects. The scientific argument that spiders are not “insects” didn’t work on State Farm.

Fannie Mae owns the house now that it has gone into foreclosure. This week, the house will be tented and fumigated, a pest control method normally associated with termite infestations, or with a plotline from the fifth season of the TV show “Breaking Bad.” Will this work where other pest control methods haven’t? “There’ll be nothing alive in there after this,” the man tasked with killing the spiders told he St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Tenting houses is a new method for dealing with brown recluse spiders that wasn’t in use three years ago when the family abandoned the house.

Extreme case of brown recluse spiders drives owners from Weldon Spring home [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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  1. DaddyBee says:

    I would say this is a clear case of, “Knock the house down and build a another, ’cause spider residue…”, but I still wouldn’t want to live in a house even newly built on that spot. Would you? Picture Poltergeist but with spiders…

  2. Mokona512 says:

    That is not a good solution as it does not fix the root cause of the infestation.

    Usually issues like this are caused by gaps in the structure that allow for insects to make a nest. You get ants and various other insects which then attracts spiders.
    Tenting the place and flooding it with poison will kill the bugs off, but after a while, new ones will move in and the whole process will start again after a while. This will become a regular occurrence for the new owners where every few months to a few years will require another expensive tenting session followed by year round pest control. Even if the price is lowered, and savings will quickly be eaten up by the increased cost of regular pest control in addition to the inconvenience.

    If they want to completely fix the issue, then all gaps in the walls and other areas where the insects can make nests, need to be filled with foam insulation which can be injected without the removal of the entire wall, it will expand and fill all gaps. Next, they need to seal all possible entry points that buts can used to go from the substructures of the home, to the living areas. After that, they need to examine the foundation and other areas for repairs and sealing of any gaps that insects will use. This can get expensive very quickly, if they want the issue fixed, they will have to get the old owners to foot a bill of around $70K-100K to have these repairs done.

    Usually a massive infestation also points to structural issues with the house, likely water leaking and wood rotting creating a damp place for insects to create a nest. That can usually call for large repairs or a new roof and other structural repairs.