Missouri Home Abandoned After Filling with Thousands of Spiders

Brown Recluse Spider Infestation Costs Missouri Couple Their Home
A brown recluse spider

10/13/2014 AT 07:15 AM EDT

Talk about a perfect house for Halloween.

The 2,400-sq.-ft. atrium ranch home house at 84 Gillette Field Close in Weldon Spring, Missouri, was built in 1988 and boasts great views of the third and fourth holes at the Whitmoor Country Club.

Except it's been abandoned for two years because it's filled with spiders.

How many spiders? Oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 to 6,000 spiders.



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Brian and Susan Trost purchased the home in the summer of 2007 for $450,000. The spider problem started shortly afterward, with Susan noticing webs – and then the spiders themselves – every day.

The Trosts called in a pest control company to deal with the spiders – since identified as brown recluses – and had the home's drywall removed so the exterminators could spray behind it. They then had another company remove insulation from the attic and put down a pesticide powder.

In 2008, the Trosts filed a claim with State Farm Insurance and took the home's previous owner to court.

During the trial, University of Kansas biology professor Jamel Sandidge referred to the home's spider problem as "immense," estimating the spider population to be 4,500 to 6,000, an assessment all the more worrisome because it was performed during the winter, when the spiders are least active, Sandidge said.

Ongoing lawsuits against State Farm and the previous owners, the Gaults, are still pending. (Among other things, State Farm does not consider the spider infestation "physical damage.")

The Trosts moved out and the home went into foreclosure: McCarthy Pest Control had tented the structure as of Oct. 10 and pumped 200 pounds of sulfuryl fluoride gas into it at 67 degrees below zero.

Though the brown recluse does have a venomous bite, "A lot of the fear [of the spider] is overdone," Matt Ormsby of the Missouri Department of Conversation tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Sure, you need to respect the spider, but a brown recluse doesn't have the bite pressure to make it through our skin, and they are not aggressive. ... The best way to prevent getting bitten is to shake out your stuff [that has been stored for a long time] and just frequent cleaning of the house."

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