Factory workers found three black widow spiders in an aircraft engine they were working on this week.
The employees at jet engine maintenance company TC Power were working on the engine at the factory at Barton-upon-Humber, north Lincolnshire, when a “black, leathery” spider dropped out of the engine, which had been imported from the United States.
After trapping the spider in a glass, they found and captured another two, but a fourth spider made its home out of reach in the frame of the engine - leaving the men to work around the poisonous guest.
TC Power managing director Stuart Elliott said the engines were imported from Kansas and arrived via Amsterdam. He said the workers, Matt Eales, Dan and Dave Peacock, Darren Elliott and Dave Holden, were shocked when they realised exactly what they had discovered.
“They had just started to work on the engines, taking them to pieces, when they noticed a black, leathery spider that looked quite aggressive had dropped out of the frame. We told the engineer to move, located it and trapped it in a jar and then found two more males ones. We looked them up on Google and found they were black widows,” Elliott said.
A female spider was still in one of the frames and there could be spiders tucked away “all over the place”, he said. “I don't think the spiders can kill an adult but they can make you very ill. I think retrospectively the guys were quite shocked.”
Elliott said the workers were now having to be extra vigilant to make sure they did not receive a nasty bite from the hidden spider. “The guys are coming over in their overalls and gloves and two guys are working on the engines and one is always on spider watch,” he said.
Elliott said the team had been looking after the trapped spiders but appealed for someone to give them a proper home.
“We’ve been feeding them flies and bugs and beetles. They’ve made little nests for themselves and seem quite happy and it seems like they've grown in the last few days,” he said.
“But we can’t keep these things alive forever in glass jars so we’re just waiting for someone to get in touch.”