A Missouri couple is facing a web of legal troubles after their home was infested with an estimated 6,000 venomous spiders.
The Torsts bought their Weldon Spring country club home, which overlooks a golf course, in October of 2007. But they haven't been able to live in the house for years because of the massive infestation of brown recluse spiders.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Susan Torst noticed the spiders shortly after she and her husband bought the house. The newspaper reports:
[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.
According to KMOV, the home has become known to locals as "the spider house." Earlier this week, an exterminator's brightly colored tarp tented the house as it was pumped full of pesticide. For the Torsts, the creepy, crawly ordeal has been anything but a day at the circus.
In 2008, the Torsts sued the home's former owners for failing to disclose that the house was essentially a fancy cave for spiders to breed in. A biologist consulted in the suit said the estimated number of spiders on the property was very conservative, since the numbers were drawn in the winter, when the arachnids are less active.
The Torsts also filed a claim with State Farm, their insurance company. The civil suit was found in their favor, but they've never collected the $472,110 that was awarded them. The house is now in foreclosure.
State Farm filed an appeal in 2013, but later dropped it. The previous owners filed for bankruptcy around the same time. Now the Torsts are suing again. Their attorney says that State Farm won't pay because there's a policy exclusion for insects. The lawyer points out that spiders are not insects.
Brown recluse spider bites are painful and can be very serious, depending on how much venom is injected in the bite.
“[The bite is] not going to kill you, but it will make you wish you were dead,” University of Kansas researcher Jamal Sandidge told KMOV.