It’s been fairly quiet on the oh-my-god-poisonous-spiders-are-smuggling-themselves-into-Britain-via-banana-crates front, of late.
We’d go so far as to suggest shoppers were finally beginning to relax in supermarket fruit aisles.
But get ready to be freaked out again – for this family were turfed out of their home for three whole days after a nest of suspected Brazilian Wandering Spiders arrived via a bunch of bananas.
Jamie Roberts initially thought the white patches on the bananas were mould...but they were not!
Jamie Roberts spotted white stringy patches on the bananas as he put them into a fruit bowl, but assumed they were mould.
Upon closer inspection, the 30-year-old realised the fruit was infested with a spider nest containing hundreds of babies.
The arachnophobe of Hednesford, Staffordshire, rang pest controllers who advised the family to evacuate the property immediately.
Jamie, his wife Crystal and children Georgina, 7, and Joshua, 5, were only allowed back three days later after it had been extensively fumigated.
...Rather the 'mould' was a nest of hundreds of baby spiders... a somewhat unwelcome surprise for an arachnophobe
Jamie said: “It was terrifying for me because I have a phobia of spiders.
“We bought the bananas from the local shop and they were in a fruit bowl on the window sill in the kitchen. One day I picked one up because it looked mouldy and it had patches of white on it.
“I knew something was wrong because then I noticed the white patches were all over the window sill and the curtains and I could see tiny legs and realised they were spiders.
The Roberts family were evacuated from their home for three days while it was fumigated by pest controllers
“At that point, I wasn’t too concerned because I thought they looked dead. I was freaked out but I started to sweep the patches into the bin but then they all started moving.”
The fruit in question was bought at a local OneStop shop near their home.
He added: “It was like something out of a horror film because suddenly the window sill was moving with hundreds of these spiders.”
Wife Crystal said: “I unpacked the bananas from the cellophane wrapper and put it in the bin so it’s possible the ‘queen spider’ may have been in there.
The Brazilian wandering spider is mainly found in tropical South America
“I looked up different types of spiders online and found they looked identical to Brazilian Wandering Spiders which are the most venomous in the world.”
The family are now waiting for the pest controllers to confirm whether the spiders were the deadly species.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the species has the most active neurotoxic venom of any living spider.
The spiders are known to have a leg span of up to 17cm
It is so potent just 0.006 mg (0.00000021 oz) is sufficient to kill a mouse.
Their bite is known to cause severe pain, breathing problems, paralysis and even death - most commonly among children under the age of seven - though anti-venom does exist.
The book describes them as "large and highly aggressive creatures [who] often enter human dwellings and hide in clothing or shoes. When disturbed they bite furiously several times, and hundreds of accidents involving these species are reported annually."
The spider is of the genus Phoneutria – Greek for ‘murderess’. Makes sense.
Despite their name, they aren’t only found in Brazil – they’re native to South and Central America.
They are so named because they are typically found wandering across the jungle floor at night – presumably when the other spiders are safely tucked up in their beds.
Their bite is 30 times more deadly than that of the rattlesnake. So potent is their venom, just 0.006 mg (0.00000021 oz) is sufficient to kill a mouse.
It is the presence of PhTx3, a potent neurotoxin makes the spider’s bite potentially lethal.
The Brazilian wandering spider can have a leg span of up to 17 cm.
Bites are known to cause severe pain, breathing problems and paralysis. They are described as "large and highly aggressive creatures [who] often enter human dwellings and hide in clothing or shoes. When disturbed they bite furiously several times, and hundreds of accidents involving these species are reported annually."
An effective antivenom has been developed, known as Soro antiaracnidico. Antivenom is typically created by milking venom from the desired spider, insect or snake (as illustrated) then diluted and injected into a horse, sheep or goat. The subject animal will undergo an immune response to the venom, producing antibodies against the venom's active molecule which can then be harvested from the animal's blood and used to treat envenomation. Internationally, antivenoms must conform to the standards of pharmacopoeia and the World Health Organization
A toxin from the venom – PnTx2-6 - boosts the availability of nitric oxide, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow. This means bites can lead to priapism – a persistent, usually painful erection. A study published last year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests the toxin could be used to help treat erectile dysfunction in humans.
A website maintained by Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, maintains that deaths from Brazilian wandering spider bites are rare, with only 10 fatalities in more than 7,000 reported cases.