A British Factory Accidentally Imported a Black Widow from Texas, and Then Lost its Shit

Daily Mail
John Blake and Ian Parkinson, the heroic pest control workers who saved Britain from a deadly black widoow infestation.
In Texas, black widows are a fact of life. You don't want one in your attic, but if you find one, it's something you deal with. Across the pond in England, it's apparently cause for freaking the fuck out.

According to a breathless account in the Daily Mail ("Believed to be Britain's first infestation of the deadly Black Widow spider"!), an entire factory was evacuated in East Norfolk after workers discovered a black widow inside a newly delivered crate from Texas. They knew it was a black widow because they Googled it.

"We cordoned off the area in the yard where the spider was discovered and created a ring of insecticide around it," Ian Parkinson, the pest control guy who handled the call, told the paper. "We then used electric and petrol based foggers on the rest of the site."

Fearing the worst, a plan was hatched to track down antivenom from hospitals in Liverpool and London, the only two places in the United Kingdom that carry it.

Later, a nest was discovered inside the crate after 100 or so baby spiders came pouring out of it. That would admittedly be pretty freaky, but the Brits luckily have the sage advice of Hank from Texas, who chimes in in the story's comments.

"I'm fixin to ax why and how them critters were able to ride in the plan all tha way yonder and get out to that place? Here is Texas we call them anklebiters and thats what them do lol. My advise would be to wear high boots and then ur feet will be safe from 'em. Good luck to yalls!"

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Am I the only one who thinks it's cool that the pest control guy has a gnarly spider tattoo?

Brad Wthrd
Brad Wthrd

Good thing it wasn't killer bees


Wait til they get a shipment of fire ants. It is surprising there hasn't been a regular importation of black widows actually. One of their preferred hiding spots is underneath a pallet in some undisturbed area, be it barn or warehouse. Not unsurprising that an egg casing hatched on the trip over. If this pallet had been parked and left to itself it is not unreasonable that the tiny spiders could have easily adapted to their new environment. 

I mentioned fire ants as a joke, but in fact it was on in some soil used as ballast that they entered Mobile, AL. back in the 50s. The emerald beetle up in Michigan came in with a load of stuff from China. The list of plants, animals and disease organisms that have been transported unknowingly from one environment to another is quite extensive. Some species moved of their own accord (armadillos, boll weevil) and some we moved on purpose (nutria, starlings) but a good many were just simply accidents of people moving things from one part of the world to the other. Oh yeah let's not forget those damned tiger skeeters, they came in with a load of tires from Africa. Whee. Bastards!

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @monstruss It might look pretty badass, but the fact that he didn't just go and step on the Black Widow in question makes me wonder if he deserves the reputation that the tattoo seems to convey.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @DavyCrockett  And these folks used to rule the world?  

"They are a very shy spider, and avoid human activity, so are not often found in human habitats.Like all spiders, they are a beneficial animal that prey on other arthropods, but this genus of spider does produce a venom that is toxic to primates"  Source(s):UC Irvine, entomology

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