Shoppers get a surprise as black widow spiders found in grapes
Published November 22, 2013
First it was venomous Brazilian wandering spiders found on a bunch of bananas.
Now, the lethal black widow spider has been found on grapes in several supermarkets in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, a woman who purchased grapes from a Milwaukee-area supermarket found a live black widow spider in the container.
Yvonne Duckhorn, told the Journal Sentinel that she had been shopping at Aldi’s Wauwatosa with her 4-year-old daughter and purchased the grapes on sale. She brought them home and when she was checking to see if the grapes had mold, she noticed something moving inside and recognized the spider’s distinctive red hour-glass-shaped marking on the body.
“I saw the legs moving frantically,” Duckhorn told the paper.
The supermarket yanked its supply of grapes from its shelves and is “stepping up inspections.”
Earlier this month another shopper at a Kroger in Brighton, Mich. was also at home when she noticed a black widow in her grapes.
“I looked in the grapes and there was a black widow staring right at me,” Callum Merry told ABC News.
Two more black widows were found in containers of red grapes at an Aldi store in St. Louis in early October and in September, a black widow was reportedly found in a shipment of grapes at a Maplewood, Minn, school.
So what’s with the spiders? You may be surprised to know that it is pretty common find black widows in fresh produce, especially grapes.
The spiders, which are the most venomous spider in North America, move into the grape fields to feast on other bugs during harvest. Food experts say ever since the mid-1990s, food growers have had to cut back on insecticide and there’s little to deter them. Also, their size and shape can make them hard to spot amidst dark red grapes, so the critters get by the inspectors.
Small children and the elderly are most susceptible to the black widow’s venom. So if you encounter a black widow, you are advised not to handle it, but instead capture it in a container and set it free outside.