Venomous spiders prompt temporary Michigan library shutdown

Associated Press

Ann Arbor — Staff at a University of Michigan library temporarily closed the building after three venomous spiders turned up in a basement storage area.

The Mediterranean recluse spiders were found in late January in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library on the school’s Ann Arbor campus. The library reopened Tuesday after being closed Sunday and treated Monday for spiders.

The spiders were not in any public spaces, said university spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen, and staff closed the building due to a misunderstanding and out of an abundance of caution.

UM's Shapiro Undergraduate Library

Bites by the spiders can cause problems ranging from minor skin irritation to tissue death, according to University of Michigan-Dearborn professor Anne Danielson-Francois, who identified an adult male spider that was caught in a glue trap at the library.

The email to students said that recluse spiders are, as their name suggests, naturally reclusive and would likely run away from a person rather than attack, The Michigan Daily reported

For faculty working in the library, the email said the best safety precautions include covering your skin when handling stored items, cardboard boxes, lumber and/or rocks. 

Library staff were also advised to store items in plastic and off the floor, or seal cardboard boxes with tape. 

The Mediterranean recluse hitchhikes with people throughout the world and has been found in 22 states, Danielson-Francois told WJBK-TV.

They like caves and can be found in basements and boiler rooms.