A woman in Pennsylvania was shocked to find a spider crawling on red grapes she was washing. Yvonne Whalen had felt something while washing grapes on Thursday. She was stunned and dropped the grapes into the sink after seeing a spider’s leg poke out from the fruit. Mrs. Whalen quickly did an internet search in an attempt to identify the type of spider she found. An expert on spiders confirmed that the spider she saw was actually a young female black widow. People should take notice of these stories and be extra cautious when shopping. More grapes with spiders could be found on store shelves.
Similar stories have been reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. There have been four incidences of black widows found in grapes in the last month. Yvonne Duckhorn was inspecting grapes for mold at an Aldi store in Wisconsin when she discovered a black widow. Over concerns that more grapes with spiders could be found on store produce stands the Aldi chain opted to remove all grapes from their stores.
Another black widow had been found in a bag of grapes at a Kroger store in Brighton, Michigan. Customer Callum Merry found a spider web, and then the spider, but had hoped to release it outside. Fortunately, his 14-year-old disagreed with that plan.
A female black widow’s venom is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. Black widows posses a potent poison that can kill an adult human. However, the bite is very rarely fatal, even prior to the development of antivenom. The bite poses a serious risk to infants and young children, the elderly, or the infirm.
Female black widows are easily identified by the characteristic red hourglass shape on their abdomen. They are not aggressive and usually just bite in an attempt to defend themselves. Black widows are typically found outside, but they will attempt to sneak inside in order to escape cold weather. They are typically located within temperate regions in the U.S., Southern Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, and South America. Given their widespread habitat, grapes with spiders could be found in stores around the globe.
A bite from a black widow feels like a pinprick and can go altogether unnoticed by some. The site can be identified by double fang marks on the victim’s skin. Pain, redness, and swelling develop quickly after being bitten. A person may experience any of the following symptoms: headache, dizziness, itching, rash, anxiety, cramping and a stiff torso, back and shoulders, weakness or paralysis, excessive saliva, nausea, and vomiting. The victim should clean the site of the wound with soap and water, apply ice and then seek medical treatment.
Spiders being found in produce has alarmed grape lovers nationwide. People should be cautious with anything they eat because spiders could even be found in fruit or vegetables grown in their own garden. While the bite is very rarely fatal, these stories should not be disregarded, as significant illness and sometimes death can result. Let your friends and family know that grapes with spiders could be found in stores across the country. Inspect produce before taking it into your home or vehicle and alert store employees if you should find something unusual.
By: Lara Stielow