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Venomous brown recluse spiders take over woman's apartment

POSTED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 10:00am

UPDATED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 10:04am

A Brentwood, Tennessee woman says she wants out of her apartment lease because her home is infested with brown recluse spiders.

Kelly Artrip says the scene looks like it's straight out of a scary movie.

In the past couple of weeks alone spider traps around her apartment have collected about ten of the poisonous pests.

The spiders have been showing up since April.

"I was leaning over my sink, and I grabbed my towel. And there was just this ginormous spider in my towel that I was about to put on my face," Artrip said.

This was supposed to be the year Artrip lived alone, but these housemates were uninvited and unwelcome.

"These are my roommates," she says. "So nasty."

When more kept coming, Artrip notified the management at her apartment complex, Mission Brentwood.

"I asked as soon as I found out they were poisonous spiders if I could switch apartments, and they told me, 'no, let us try to take care of it,'" Artrip says.

A pest control company told Artrip she would have to leave so they could dust the area, but that still didn't do the trick.

"I had to leave my apartment for five days, I think, and they were still everywhere," she says.

Pest control workers have been to her apartment more than a few times since, but the problem still hasn't been squished.

Dr. Frank Hale, a professor of entomology at the University of Tennessee, says getting rid of brown recluse spiders can take up to a year.

If you live in an apartment, moving to another unit in the same building may not solve the issue.

"Generally speaking, when we see this many spiders it means more than one unit is infected," Hale says.

If she does move, there's a chance Artrip could take the spiders with her.

"I have to shake out my clothes all the time, and it just creates this paranoia," Artrip says.

Experts say the spiders can hide in boxes and furniture and would live long enough to survive the trip.

As for breaking an apartment lease, state law doesn't specifically address spider infestations, but if a landlord violates the terms of the Landlord-Tenant Act related to residents' health and safety, they may have just cause to break a lease.

  

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