The Baltimore Wastewater and Treatment Plant called for the help of entomologists, after the building was overrun with approximately 107 million spiders – all of which had spun a 4-acre web.
The story was reported in American Entomologist and detailed the incredible number of spiders the facility was forced to confront and operate alongside.
“We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three-dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior,” the story reads.
The group of entomologists added that they were also amazed by the thickness of the giant web, which they described as a record-breaking natural history wonder. In some places, the webbing was so thick that it damaged light fixtures, leading scientists to describe its width as that of “a fire hose” and its appearance as “rope-like."
“Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was nothing less than astonishing,” the entomologists wrote.
The experts noted that the 31,000 species of spider, measuring around half an inch, that were discovered in the building were not dangerous, and that they should be treated with basic maintenance.
The web was eventually removed.
Originally reported in 2009, pictures of the giant web were re-released on Wired last week as part of a Halloween feature.