It sounds like a horror movie, but it isn’t. A Missouri family has been forced from their home by thousands of brown recluse spiders falling from the ceiling and crawling out the walls.
Brian and Susan Trost bought their upscale Weldon, Missouri home overlooking a golf course in 2007 and began seeing brown recluse spiders in the house as soon as they moved in, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
Susan Trost testified that she begin seeing the spiders on the first day, when she noticed a large stringy web wrapped around one of the light fixtures and webs in the basement that hadn’t been there when they originally walked through the house. When she pulled on a loose piece of wallpaper in the kitchen, a spider ran behind it.
Thinking that the spiders might be there because the house had been sitting vacant, Trost began cleaning. Over the next month, she saw spiders and webs throughout the house, she said. They were in the mini blinds, the air registers, pantry, and fireplace – even dropping from the ceiling in the shower. Susan described them as “bleeding out of the walls.”
Responding to the screams of her 4-year-old son from the basement one day, she found a spider the size of a half-dollar near his foot, which she trapped in a plastic bag and looked up online.
It was a brown recluse.
The spiders are normally not deadly, but can cause extreme pain and sickness if they bite, such as in this woman who the Inquisitr reported suffered through 20 surgeries after a brown recluse bit her.
The Trost’s took extreme measures to rid the home of the brown recluse spiders, hiring pest control company to spray inside and outside the house once a week, paying someone to remove the drywall so a the exterminator could spray behind it, and hiring another company to remove the insulation in the attic and put down a pesticide there.
She testified that the attic treatment seemed to help some for a while, but they were still seeing the spiders.
The family filed a claim with State Farm for damages done by the spiders, and a civil lawsuit against the former owners alleging that they did not disclose the extent of the brown recluse infestation and other problems with the house.
An expert at the jury trial in 2011 testified that the spider infestation was “immense,” estimating that there were between 4500 and 6000 brown recluse in the house. However, there could have been even more because the estimate was made in the winter when the spiders are less active.
State Farm claims that the policy doesn’t cover spiders –even though the house had thousands of venomous brown recluse that forced the Trosts to tear out walls and insulation – the infestation did not amount to “physical damage.”
The jury awarded the Trosts $472,110, but according to ABC News, the former owners went bankrupt.
Making matters worse, State Farm was also the insurance company providing the defense for the previous owners – and they refused to pay, claiming their policy had no coverage.
The Trosts never received a penny of the damages awarded to them. They have since filed another suit against State Farm, but were forced to leave the home two years ago when the brown recluse infestation started worsening again.
The home is now in foreclosure. The Federal National Mortgage Association, which now owns it, is attempting to get rid of the creepy occupants with a tenting treatment, shown below, which can cost up to $30,000 depending on the size of the home. A Fannie Mae representative said that it is common practice to exterminate a home before putting it on the market. If the Trosts’ experience is any indication, the house might not go up for sale any time soon.
University of Missouri biology professor James Carrell said that many older buildings have brown recluse spiders in them, but it is unusual for the spiders to infest a new, upscale home such as the Trosts’.
It’s “just weird, “he said. “I don’t know what to make of it.”