Mum flees home after Asda banana releases deadly spiders

Gemma Price was covered in Brazilian wandering spiders

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A horrified mum was covered by a cluster of the world's most deadly spiders - after she found them in an Asda banana.

Gemma Price, 30, was forced to flee her home with her seven-month-old son after police advised her to evacuate the property.

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It took three days for experts to exterminate the Brazilian wandering spiders, once identified in the Guinness Book of Records as the most venomous arachnid on the planet, and make the property 'safe'.

The tiny mites fire venom which can kill in 'tiny amounts', male victims often sporting an erection due to muscle paralysis before they die, with one bite from an adult enough to kill within two hours.

Single mum Gemma, a full-time mum, said: "I bought some loose Costa Rican bananas from Asda. Next day I came home from the gym and picked one off from the bunch and went upstairs.

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Gemma with her son Leo

Credits: © North News & Pictures ltd

The banana, showing the remnants of the egg sack (white object at the point of peel separation)

"As I peeled the banana a white egg sac, which I had not noticed before, broke and hundreds of little spiders were crawling on my hands and arms and down my pyjamas.

"I threw the banana down on the bed and they spread everywhere."

She admitted that she was 'freaking out' as some had climbed in beside her baby son in his nearby cot. "I was screaming and trying to kill as many as I could," she recalled. "Some got into my baby Leo's cot. I quickly picked him and called 999.

"The operator asked if we had been bitten and when I said no. I was told to evacuate the property with my baby immediately and not go to back. My mother lived just across the road, so luckily I had somewhere to go that time of night."

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The Brazilian Wandering Spider's venom causes a lingering death from paralysis

She called Durham county council next day, but they said pest control experts were needed, and a firm in Birmingham was contacted by Asda's head office.

Gemma added: "When I left the house, I had no belongings with me, but I could not go back in. I had to borrow my sister Vicky's clothes which were too small for me, and sleep on a put down bed in my mum's living room.

"Pest control turned the house upside down. Each room was sealed and heated to 60C and they had to spray everything twice - they turned the beds over, they had everything out of the drawers, even Leo's toys were cleaned.

"They looked online at photos and said it was the Brazilian wandering spider which is the most dangerous. Yet a manager in the local Asda said it was not really their fault and suggested I take it up with the banana supplier. I told her 'I don't pay the supplier, I pay Asda. It made me so angry'."

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The hatchling spiders on the banana Gemma bought

Gemma's Lakeland Terrier Teddy also had to be cleaned in case he had a spider hiding in his coat. Gemma is now intending to seek legal advice after returning from the home of her mum Julie Price, 53.

"It was a good job she was so close," added Gemma. "I don't know what I would have done. otherwise I was bitten before by a false widow spider in 2009 and had a terrible reaction to that, so I knew spiders could be dangerous."

"The operator asked if we had been bitten and when I said no. I was told to evacuate the property with my baby immediately and not go to back. My mother lived just across the road, so luckily I had somewhere to go that time of night."

Gemma, of Annfield Plain, Co Durham, said when she called the Asda store in Stanley to make them aware of her horrific discovery.

She was asked to bring the world's most poisonous spiders - and the banana - to customer services for a 'refund'.

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Gemma bought the banana from this Asda store

"It was absolutely comical," added the mum-of-one, now back home after the discovery last Monday. "There was no way I was going to be walking with potentially venomous spiders in my bag.

"I contacted head office the next day was was not much they could do about it. The conversation got heated as they suggested I shake the baby's clothes out, when I said I did not have any for Leo.

"That's when he offered me a £50 voucher, as a goodwill gesture, to go to the store to get baby milk and pyjamas and things he needed."

Asda is investigating 'as a matter of urgency'

A spokeswoman for Asda said: "We are investigating this issue with utmost priority, and will revert as soon as possible."

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