Memphis neighborhood taken over by millions of spiders

Some neighbors suggested the city should do something about the infestation.
By Brooks Hays  |  Nov. 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM
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NORTH MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A suburban neighborhood in North Memphis, Tennessee, became overrun with spiders over the weekend.

Millions of the arachnids showed up suddenly, building nests in the trees and bushes along roads and fields. Neighborhood residents spoke of houses invaded by dozens of spiders.

"You can't even sit down in her house cause they all on the wall and on the door," local resident Debra Lewis told WMC Action News. "We've been killing spiders for like an hour now."

Some neighbors suggested the city should do something about the infestation.

"Clean this area up and spray for these spiders and make it safe," Ida Morris said. "There are kids running around. A spider could bite the kids or anything."

Very few spider species in the United States are poisonous, and those that are don't propagate in large numbers. Memphis Zoo curator Steve Reichling said there's nothing to worry about.

Reichling thinks the phenomenon is just evidence of sheetweb spiders that have been there all along, but are now on the move for some unknown reason. Their appearance could be the sign of migration or simply a large number of newborn spiders lighting out for new territory.

"In fields and meadows, there are often literally millions of spiders doing their thing, unseen and unappreciated by us," he said. "I would not want to live in a world where such things were no longer possible. The presence of these spiders tells us that all is well with nature at that location."

Over the summer, a similar spider emergence event blanketed a Texas neighborhood with several hundred square feet of webbing.

And earlier this fall, cold weather in Montana sent scores of hobo spiders indoors, invading homes in Missoula.

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