Maine shipyard gets a load of black widow spiders

December 13, 2011 - 6:41 PM

BATH, Maine (AP) — A Navy shipbuilder in Maine says it had to fumigate a warehouse and part of a warship because a shipment of parts from the West Coast contained about two-dozen venomous black widow spiders.

Bath Iron Works employees discovered the arachnids in a crate containing vertical launch system components. Spokesman Jim DeMartini said Tuesday the discovery led to the fumigation of several compartments in the USS Michael Murphy, a destroyer that's under construction. A warehouse in Brunswick also was fumigated.

DeMartini says the spiders were discovered earlier this month. The shipyard is confident exterminators eliminated any spiders that weren't stomped.

Black widows aren't found in Maine but are found in California, where the shipment originated. The females are known for their distinctive hourglass marking and their potentially lethal bite.