Black widows on grapes

Black widows on grapes

Beware of lethal black widow on red, green, black grapes

Black widows on grapes

Black widows on grapes bought in supermarkets might not appear at first like a black widow, the most venomous spider in North America, but as merely some irregularity or red spot on the grapes — until it starts moving. Earlier this month, one shopper in Michigan bought some grapes but after she had taken them home and was getting them ready to be eaten, she noticed something staring at her, reported Fox News on Nov. 22, 2013.

“I looked in the grapes and there was a black widow staring right at me,” said Callum Merry who had the unexpected encounter with a black widow on her grapes.

And Callum Merry from Michigan is not the only shopper who recently discovered a black widow hiding among her grapes.

At the beginning of November, Yvonee Duckhorn was shopping with her four-year-old daughter at an Aldi in Wisconsin when she picked up a clear container of red grapes that was on sale. When she flipped the container with the grapes over to check for mold or any soft grapes, she noticed something was moving inside.

“I saw the legs moving frantically,” Yvonee Duckhorn said. “I’ve seen bugs on fruit before, and I thought, ‘That is a very big spider.’ Nothing I’d ever seen before.”

Yvonee Duckhorn realized that she was actually looking at a black widow on her grapes when she noticed the red marking on the black spider. Following the incident, Aldi Supermarkets pulled all red, green and black grapes from Milwaukee-area stores and promised to beef up inspections, reported the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Black widows can be easily recognized by their distinctive red hour-glass-shaped marking on the body. However, how many people think about checking for a black widow when buying grapes?

No matter whether a black widow is found on grapes in a supermarket or just as you walk out the door (as it happens often in Southern California), black widows are to be respected. They are the most venomous spiders in North America and their venom can cause some major reaction, especially in children, adults, or people with allergies.The bite of a black widow can be lethal.

Black widows, especially the female black widow, have very potent venom. The bite feels like a pinprick. At first you may notice slight swelling and faint red marks. Within a few hours, though, intense pain and stiffness begin. While the much larger body mass of a person can usually fight off the small amount of potent venom, other symptoms can develop including chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. While a severe or even lethal reaction to a black widow spider bite is rare, any of the above symptoms might warrant a visit to the doctor to receive an antivenom.

According to Aquatic Community, “in the United States, compiled black widow spider bite facts show us that between the year 1950 and 1989 there were only 63 reported instances of lethal black widow spider bites. The risk of dying from a black widow spider bite will increase if you do not seek medical attention, and if you have underlying health problems, such as a heart condition. Before the antivenom was invented, up to 5 percent of reported bites were lethal.”

Black widows on grapes or other fruits are becoming more common as food growers are cutting back on insecticides. The black widows’ dark color, even their red marking, make them hard to spot among dark red grapes and thus can easily evade food inspectors.

Besides Michigan and Wisconsin, reports of black widow spiders on grapes have popped up in the past few months in Missouri and Minnesota.

A black widow spider was found in grapes from a Kroger store in Detroit and in early October, two consumers in the St. Louis area reported finding black widow spiders in grapes purchased from different Aldi stores. In September, a black widow was found in a shipment of grapes in the lunchroom of a Twin Cities school.

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