FERRIER FILES: Bellevue family takes extreme measures in war on brown recluse spiders

FOX 17 News

A family has been battling a spider infestation for over a year that begun just after moving into a new Bellevue home.

The Armstrong’s moved their young family into a Bellevue home 18 months ago and almost immediately started seeing spiders.

They put out some glue traps hoping to trap one or two spiders.

“And we started to catch a lot well over a hundred,” Emilie Armstrong said. “They were all brown recluses.”

This has been an on-going problem for 18 months. Even after several exterminators came in, they continued to multiply.

No matter what the Armstongs do, there are brown recluse spiders in every room, every week.

“It’s been very stressful, we have 3 small kids, we check the beds, we check the shower, we check towels. There is a constant state of checking and it can really weigh on you,” Armstrong said.

This came as no surprise to the state of Tennessee brown recluse expert Dr. Karen Vail from UT Knoxville.

“It’s very difficult because the female is often hidden away, often in tiny crevices and wall voids. Deep in the bowels of the house,” Dr. Vail said. “So you basically must treat hard to access spaces. How can you find all the voids cracks and crevices? So generally you kill some, but some survive."

The Armstrong’s are taking extreme measures to do away with the spider infestation. They have hired a specialist out of Missouri to tent the home and fumigate it like you would for termites, McCarthy Pest Control is going to come to Tennessee in August.

“He will come in August and tent our house and use Vicane to kill every spider in the structure,” said Armstrong.

This is brand new to Tennessee but the state's top expert believes it could work.

“The nice thing in the gaseous form is it's going to penetrate those voids and kill them. You get the one time kill but then you must be very diligent to keep them out because they will come back in,” said Dr. Vail.

Emilie Armstrong is betting thousands on it. She couldn't in good conscience sell a home with a brown recluse infestation but she also can't live in a home with a brown recluse infestation

Even her 6-year-old daughter knows why. They bite and their venom is poisonous.

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