The yellow sac spider, which loves the smell of gas, is invading the emission control system of the Mazda6. Image: CC Joel Mills/Wikimedia Commons

A Mazda recall due to a bizarre spider infestation was announced by the automaker Friday. There have been several incidences in which the yellow sac spider, which is attracted to the smell of gasoline, has spun webs that obstruct a vent hose from the fuel tank. The Mazda spider recall affects more than 65,000 Mazda6 models from 2009-10.

Mazda bitten by arachnid invaders

The Mazda spider recall of 65,916 cars was prompted after the after the National Highway Safety Commission issued a warning that spider webs may restrict a fuel vent line. According to the NHSC, the yellow sac spider has shown a propensity to spin a web that restricts the evaporative canister vent line. The blocked vent line could prevent vapors from escaping the fuel tank, which could allow the emission control system to build a level of pressure that could crack the tank, leak fuel and start a fire. Mazda dealers have reported 20 cases of spider webs found in the vent connected to the fuel tank system in the Mazda6. Each incidence occurred in cars with 4-cylinder engines. No V6 engines have been affected. Mazda6 owners will receive recall letters from Mazda by the end of March.

A spider that loves the smell of gas

The yellow sac spider is relatively common in the U.S. It has the peculiar characteristic of being attracted to the smell of gasoline. The Mazda6 also has a peculiar characteristic: The car has two vent pipes coming from the gas tank, which makes the smell of gasoline particularly strong outside the vehicle. The gasoline smell is strong enough to entice yellow sac spiders, so they make themselves at home. No other Mazda model has experienced this problem. No fuel tank fires that can be pinned on the yellow sac spider have yet occurred, but when the Mazda6 is recalled, dealers will install a spring valve to prevent future spider infestations.

Yellow sac spider bites

The presence of yellow sac spiders in Mazdas is a new discovery, but the tiny arachnid, about the size of a dime, is seen very often in homes throughout the U.S. Instead of weaving webs to ensnare their prey, yellow sac spiders weave a little sac they use for shelter when they’re not out hunting for food. Yellow sac spiders bite with powerful fangs that easily penetrate human skin. Yellow sac spider bites are painful and cause redness, swelling and necrosis of the skin surrounding the bite that heals in a week or two. People are bitten quite often by yellow sac spiders, and the bites are frequently misdiagnosed as brown recluse spider bites, which can be deadly.



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