Killer spider invasion!

Posted : Thursday, November 13th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Consi’s fruit bowl was harbouring some deadly visitors

Changing nappies, feeding time, piles of laundry and endless cuddles – just when were mums supposed to eat?

‘I’m hungry,’ I thought as I tidied the kitchen.

There just weren’t enough hours in the day.

It was September 2013, and while my hubby, Richard, 37, was at his job as a primary school teacher, I was trying to look after my three-month-old daughter, Annabel, with my son, Ben, three, still craving all my attention.

And today my mate, Cecily Johnson, 33, was due for a play date with her 18-month-old boy, Jasper, any minute, so I knew I’d only have time for a snack.

Annabel was content in her chair and Ben was watching TV, so I pulled a banana off a bunch, and started peeling it as I walked into the living room.

‘Do you want a banana, Ben?’ I asked.

He shook his head, glued to his programme.

‘Well, Mummy’s having one,’ I said, taking a bite.

But, as I chewed, I noticed some strange spots on the skin.

At first, I thought they were just bruises, but then I noticed there was something white on there, too.

‘Oh, no, it’s mouldy,’ I said, with a sigh, annoyed, because I’d only just bought them from our local Sainsbury’s the night before.

Still, it seemed a shame to waste the banana. It tasted fine. It was just a bit weird on
the outside,
so I had another bite.

But, suddenly, each tiny mark came to life.

The 3mm black dots scuttled along the banana and dropped
on to the carpet.

Screaming in horror, I threw my hands into the air, while the banana thudded to the floor.

‘They’re tiny spiders!’ I cried.

The kids looked startled, so
I pulled myself together.

I was shaking with fear, but I didn’t want
to frighten them.

In a panic, I called Cecily, whispering urgently, ‘Tiny spiders have just leapt off my banana! They’re all over the carpet. Get here quick!’

Spiders had always scared
me. It couldn’t have happened
to a worse person!

Grabbing my camera, I started to take photos of the little spiders on the banana and on the carpet as evidence.

When I peered closer at the white on the skin, it looked like
a little nest of webs, and there were eggs there, too. Disgusting!

‘This can’t be happening!’ I cried.

When Cecily arrived, she was just as shocked.

‘Let’s vacuum them up,’ she said, plugging in the machine and flicking the switch.

Bravely, she started to suck up the spiders.

In a complete frenzy, I mopped up behind her, using anti-bacterial wipes.

Then I sealed the banana in
a bag and chucked it outside.

‘I’d offered a banana to Ben,’
I said in horror. ‘Thank goodness he didn’t want it.’

He would have eaten the banana and chucked the skin.
I might never have known there were spiders in it!

Cecily could see I was shaken.

My eyes were continually darting around the floor to see
if there was any movement.

‘I’ll watch the kids while you call Sainsbury’s and complain,’ she said.

So I phoned customer
services and explained to a member of staff that I’d bought the £1 bunch of Colombian Fairtrade bananas there.

‘There were baby spiders on it,’ I stammered.

They asked me to bring the bananas in.

But I gasped, ‘Are you sure?’

It seemed like a strange request, considering there could be spiders left inside, which could escape into the store.

Still, it was what they’d said
so I took them back, keen to be rid of them.

In exchange, Sainsbury’s gave me a £10 voucher.

‘I really want to know what
kind of spiders they were,’
I insisted. ‘They’re obviously
not from this country.’

Later that day, when Richard
got back from work, I told him all about it.

‘It was revolting,’
I said with a shudder.

Richard was absolutely horrified.

‘They could still be in the house!’ he cried. ‘What if they’re dangerous… ’

It was only then that it dawned on me just how serious it could be…

Richard called the store and demanded they find the identity
of the creepy-crawly stowaways.

But when, after five days, he hadn’t got an answer, we were going crazy, checking every fleck on the carpet to see whether
it moved.

And I was frantic about the kids playing on the floor, because Ben had a habit of picking up little spiders.

Richard called Sainsbury’s again.

‘We’ve found out they’re spiders,’ they told him.

‘I know they’re spiders!’ he exploded. ‘We want to know what species they are!’

When he put the phone down, he’d had enough.

‘This is hopeless,’ he said. ‘We need to a get pest control company to identify them.’

And, after sending the photographs of the spiders to
the pest control experts, they told us they thought they might be Brazilian wandering spiders.

They are one of the world’s most venomous spiders, and their bite can kill within two hours.

‘But our home might be infested with them!’ I wailed to Richard.

We looked up the arachnids on the internet, and read that the female of the species can grow to have a leg span of 15cm… 6in!

The pest control company said we’d have to evacuate our home while they fumigated it.

‘There could still be some lurking in your home,’ a company expert warned.

‘But how much will it cost?’ I asked.

His response left me speechless. It was going to set us back a whopping £2,400!

No way could we afford it
– but we couldn’t just ignore deadly spiders in our home.

We rang Sainsbury’s
again. This time, we spoke to someone really helpful who agreed that the company would pay for the fumigation and cover the costs of us staying
in a hotel while it was done.

‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ I mumbled to Richard as we packed our bags.

We were only allowed to take
a minimum amount of things – the rest had to be fumigated along with the house.

Annabel needed new baby bottles and Ben couldn’t take
his toys with him.

We spent three nights in a hotel with the children, stuck in the room because of heavy rain.

The only thing that kept us sane was knowing our three-bedroom house was being totally fumigated and deep-cleaned.

While the ‘spidermen’ did their work, we did more research…

The Brazilian wandering spider was listed in the Guinness World Records book as the most toxic spider on earth.

Its venom was said to be
30 times more powerful than
that of a rattlesnake!

If you were bitten by one, you could suffer irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, vomiting and eventual death.

The spider’s scientific name was phoneutria (Greek for ‘murderess’) nigriventer.

‘This is a complete nightmare,’ I said.

Hatchlings didn’t pack the full poisonous punch of a mature adult, but if we’d left them to grow, it could have been fatal.

Sainsbury’s paid our hotel bill, the cost
of fumigating the house and having all our clothes dry-cleaned.

After three long days crammed into a hotel room trying to entertain the kids, we were allowed home.

We had to throw away our vacuum cleaner in case they were inside and we tipped all
the kids’ toys into a bath full of Dettol, just to be doubly sure
they were spider free.   

Pest control said every living thing that had been in our home when it was fumigated was now dead, but I can’t help being terrified that some of those tiny spiders could still be alive.

I try not to think about it, though, or I’d go bananas!

We kill every spider we see in the house now. I used to take them outside into the garden – with the help of a glass and a piece of paper – but we can’t take that
chance any more.

Richard and me even checked that the local hospital has the anti-venom – just in case!

I still like bananas, but I can’t put my hand near them in the shop any more, so Richard has
to buy them for me.

Supermarkets should really have tighter controls in place, so customers aren’t put at risk like we were.

Hopefully, our story serves as
a warning. Check your bananas, and if you spot a spider – split!

Changing nappies, feeding time, piles of laundry and endless cuddles – just when were mums supposed to eat?

 

‘I’m hungry,’ I thought, as I tidied the kitchen.

 

There just weren’t enough hours in the day.

 

It was September 2013 and, while my hubby Richard, 37, worked as a primary school teacher, I was trying to look after my three-month-old daughter, Annabel, with my son, Ben, three, still craving all my attention.

 

And today my mate Cecily was due for a play date with her daughter any minute, so I knew I’d only have time to grab a snack.

 

Annabel was content in her chair and Ben was watching TV, so I pulled a banana off a bunch, and started peeling it, as I walked into the living room.

 

‘Do you want a banana Ben?’ I asked.

 

He shook his head, glued to his programme.

 

‘Well Mummy’s having one,’ I said, taking a bite.

 

But, as I chewed, I noticed some strange spots on the skin.

 

At first, I thought they were just bruising, but then I noticed there was something white on there, too.

 

‘Oh no, it’s mouldy,’ I said, with a sigh, annoyed, as I’d only just bought them from the local Sainsbury’s the night before.

 

Still, it seemed a shame to waste the banana, when it tasted fine. It was just a bit weird on the outside, so I took another bite.

 

Then, suddenly, each tiny mark came to life.

 

The 3mm black dots scuttled along the banana and dropped on to the carpet.

 

Screaming in horror, I threw my hands into the air, while the banana thudded to the floor.

 

‘They’re tiny spiders!’ I cried.

 

The kids looked startled, so I pulled myself together.

 

I was shaking with fear but I didn’t want to frighten them.

 

In a panic, I called Cecily, whispering, urgently, ‘Tiny spiders have just leapt off my banana! They’re all over my carpet. Get here quick!’

 

Spiders had always scared me. It couldn’t have happened to a worst person!

 

Grabbing the camera, I started to take photos of them on the banana and all over the carpet as evidence.

 

When I looked closer at the white on the skin, it looked like a little nest of webs and there were eggs there, too.

 

‘This can’t be happening!’ I cried.

 

When Cecily arrived, she was just as shocked.

 

‘Let’s Hoover them up,’ she said, plugging in the machine and flicking the switch.

 

Bravely, she started to suck up the spiders.

 

In a complete frenzy I mopped up behind her, with anti-bacterial wipes.

 

Then I sealed the banana in a bag and chucked it outside.

 

‘I’d offered a banana to Ben,’ I said, with horror. ‘Thank goodness he didn’t want it.’

 

He would have eaten the banana and chucked the skin. I might never have known there were spiders in it!

 

Cecily could see I was shaken.

 

My eyes were darting around the floor, to see if there was any movement.

 

‘I’ll watch the kids while you call Sainsbury’s and complain,’ she said.

 

So, I phoned customer services and explained to a member of staff that I’d bought the £1 bunch of Colombian Fair Trade bananas there.

 

‘There were baby spiders on it,’ I stammered.

 

They asked me to bring the bananas in.

 

But I gasped, ‘Are you sure?’

 

It seemed like a strange request, considering there could be spiders left inside, which could escape into the store.

 

Still, it was what they’d said so I took them back, keen to get rid of them.

 

In exchange, Sainsbury’s gave me a £10 voucher.

 

‘I really want to know what kind of spiders they were,’ I insisted. ‘They’re obviously not from this country.’

 

Later that day, when Richard got back from work, I told him all about it.

 

‘It was revolting,’ I said with a shudder.

 

Richard was horrified.

 

‘They could still be in the house!’ he cried.

 

It was only then that it dawned on me just how dangerous that could be.

 

Richard called the store and demanded that they find out the identity of the creepy-crawly stowaways.

 

But, when after five days, he hadn’t got an answer, we were going crazy, checking every fleck on the carpet to see whether it moved.

 

And I was frantic about the kids playing on the floor, as Ben had a habit of picking up little spiders.

 

Richard called Sainsbury’s again.

 

‘We’ve found out they’re spiders,’ they told him.

 

‘I know they’re spiders,’ he exploded. ‘We want to know what kind of species they are!’

 

When he put the phone down, he’d had enough.

 

‘This is hopeless,’ he said. ‘We need to a get pest control company to identify them.’

 

And, after sending the photographs of the spiders to the pest control experts, we were told they were suspected to be Brazilian wandering spiders.

 

They are one of the world’s most venomous spiders and their bite can kill within two hours.

 

‘But our home might be infested with them!’ I wailed to Richard.

 

We looked up the arachnids on the internet and read that the female of the special can grow to have a leg span of 6in!

 

There was nothing incy-wincy about them!

 

The pest control company said we’d have to evacuate our home while they fumigated it.

 

‘There could still be some lurking in your home,’ a company expert warned.

 

‘But how much will it cost?’ I asked.

 

His response left me speechless. It was going to cost a whopping £2,400!

 

There was no way we could afford it – but we couldn’t just ignore deadly spiders in our home.

 

Again, we rang Sainsbury’s. This time we spoke to someone really helpful who agreed that they would pay for it and cover the costs of us staying in a hotel while it was done.

 

‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ I mumbled to Richard, as we packed our bags.

 

We were only allowed to take a minimum amount of things – the rest had to be fumigated along with the house.

 

Annabel needed new baby bottles and Ben couldn’t take his toy.

 

We spent three nights in a hotel with s children, stuck in the room, because of heavy rain.

 

The only thing that kept us sane was knowing that our three bedroom house was being completely fumigated and deep-cleaned.

 

While the ‘spidermen’ did their work, we did some more research…

 

The Brazilian wandering spider was listed in the Guinness World Records as the most toxic spider on earth.

 

Its venom was said to be 30 times more powerful than that of a rattlesnake.

 

If you were bitten by one, you could suffer irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, vomiting and eventual death.

 

Its scientific name was ‘phoneutria nigriventer.’ Which in part was Greek for ‘murderess.’

 

‘This is a complete nightmare,’ I said.

 

Hatchlings didn’t pack the full poisonous punch of a mature adult, but if we’d left them to grow, it could have been fatal.

 

Sainsbury’s paid all the costs of our hotel bill, the fumigation of the house and they paid to have all our clothes dry-cleaned.

 

After three long days cramped into a hotel room, trying to entertain the kids, we were allowed home.

 

We had to throw away our vacuum cleaner in case they were inside and we tipped all the kid’s toys into a bath full of Dettol, just to be doubly sure they were spider free.

 

The pest control said that every living thing which had been in our home when it was fumigated is now dead, but I can’t stop being terrified that some of those tiny spiders could still be alive.

 

I try not to think about it, though, or I’d go bananas!

 

We kill every spider we see in the house now. I used to take them outside into the garden, with the help of a glass and a piece of paper – but we can’t take that risk anymore.

 

Richard and me checked that the local hospital has the anti-venom just in case.

 

I still like bananas but I can’t put my hand near them in the shop anymore, so Richard has to buy them for me.

 

Supermarkets should really have tighter controls in place, so customers aren’t put at risk like we were.

 

Hopefully, our story serves as a warning. Check your bananas and if you spot a spider – split!

 

Consi Taylor, 29, from Hampton, South West London.

 

A Sainsbury’s store spokesman issued an apology, saying:

“We do have rigorous controls on imported products at all stages – from harvesting to transportation – which is why this is so rare.”

A source at the chain insisted the creatures are unlikely to survive in Britain, either inside or outside, because they need warmth and humidity.