Hundreds of false widow spiders fumigated at Dean Academy
HUNDREDS of false widow spiders were obliterated as pest control experts put the Dean Academy off limits yesterday.
The army of eight-legged creatures were killed as the IT block and other buildings at the Lydney school were fumigated.
All 905 pupils and the staff were given the day off as the white-suited team went in to get rid of the false widows.
They arrived on Tuesday evening and worked through the night and all day yesterday to eradicate the infestation.
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Pest control expert Adam Lott, from Highnam, said: "A fogging machine is placed in the room. It then fills it with a fog which kills any insects instantly.
"There would be hundreds of them. It has been a good summer for insects so you can bet just one female might lay 100 eggs and 50 of them will survive. I work with a number of schools in the Forest and they are keeping an eye on the situation and may well do the same during half term."
Some parents were bemused by the school's stance.
One said: "It is disgusting. The kids are always having time off, whether it's a strike, an inset day or now a spider invasion.
"It's not good for parents because we have to take time off work. These spiders haven't killed anyone yet, have they?
"We live in the Forest, for goodness sake, so there are lots of things which can bite us here."
Carer Julia Mullan, mum of 15-year-old pupil Connor, was pleased the school acted quickly but added: "One thing I'm worried about is the chemical residue left behind."
Parent Samantha Goulding, 48, said the school had caused "unnecessary mass panic" by closing for the day.
She said: "At first I thought the letter from the school was a joke but a teacher confirmed it was true. I think the school has overreacted.
"There's no reason they couldn't have kept it quiet, sealed off the areas where the spiders are and then dealt with it in half term."
Pupils were delighted to have the day off.
Rachel Howard, who is in Year 7, said: "I didn't see any spiders in the school but I looked for them."
The site manager at the academy said the team from C&D Pest Control were working long hours to get the job done. The school's vice principal Craig Burns said the school would reopen today.