There's a home in Weldon Spring, Missouri, in a prime location on a country club's golf course that from the outside looks like any family's dream abode. But something lurking on the inside drove its previous owners away and has left it vacant for two years.
When the previous owners bought the Whitmoor Country Club home in 2007, they did so not knowing that it had an infestation of thousands of brown recluse spiders. The brown recluse is a poisonous spider common in the south and central U.S. Brown recluse spider bites are not necessarily deadly, but as Jamal Sandidge with the University of Kansas told KMOV-TV, its bite will "make you wish you were dead."
Homeowners bought a house not knowing it had a brown recluse spider infestation. The later sued the previous owners and moved out. Now the home is being fumigated so it can go on the market again. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)
When Brian and Susan Trost, the home's last owners, bought the 1988 home about seven years ago for $450,000, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, they weren't aware of the problem. But Susan Trost got her first taste on day one and the infestation only became more apparent from there.
The newspaper reported that while neither the woman nor her husband spotted spider webs on their initial viewings of the home, they saw several shortly after moving in:
In the following days, she saw spiders and their webs every day. They were in the mini blinds, the air registers, the pantry ceiling, the fireplace. Their exoskeletons were falling from the can lights. Once when she was showering, she dodged a spider as it fell from the ceiling and washed down the drain.
A month after living in the home, her 4-year-old son screamed frantically from the basement, and Trost saw a spider, about the size of a half dollar, inches from his foot.
In coverage a couple of years ago from KMOV-TV, Susan Trost described the spiders as "bleeding out of the walls." Estimates of how many spiders were in the home range, but the highest number topped out at 6,000.
The homeowners took measures to have the spiders professionally eradicated, but the Post-Dispatch reported that they never were fully gone.
Denny McCarthy points out the fiddle design on the back of a brown recluse spider painted on the side of truck in Dardenne Prairie, Mo. McCarthy, 71, said he used to be in pest control, but now his son runs the business. (AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes)
A year after purchasing the home, the couple filed a lawsuit against the home's prior owners for not revealing the spider problem. Legal proceedings stretched on for years, but eventually jurors awarded the family $472,110, an amount the Post-Dispatch reported was never collected because the defendant's insurance claimed the owners didn't have coverage for this and thus would not pay. The defendants later filed for bankruptcy, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Workers from McCarthy Pest Control finish covering a house in Dardenne Prairie, Mo. with a tarp in preparation for fumigating the home to get rid of brown recluse spiders. (AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes)
The Trosts moved out of the home, which is now owned by Federal National Mortgage Association. Since then, McCarthy Pest Control was commissioned to get rid of the spiders before the home can be sold again. The Post-Dispatch reported that the pest company tented and fumigated the home recently. The cost of the technique that should leave "nothing alive" afterward, according to the company's owner, cost about $14,000, KMOV reported.
Watch KMOV's report about the recent attempt to eradicate the spiders:
This isn't the first time homeowners have gotten an unwelcome surprise of something unknowingly living on their property. A few years ago, new Idaho owners were found their house was infested with snakes.
(H/T: Daily Mail)