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Woman Finds Black Widow Spider on Her Grapes

Woman Finds Black Widow Spider on Her Grapes

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Well this makes us a bit more wary about aggressively washing our produce; a woman in Connecticut claims she found a black widow spider in her bag of grapes from Whole Foods.

The woman, Nora Weiss, bought a bag of Sunview Organic Table Grapes from a Whole Foods in Fairfield, Conn.

The spider was still alive, NBC Chicago reports, and luckily did not bite the shopper. Whole Foods, naturally, has stated that her claim could be true since organic produce doesn't use pesticides. The shopper was offered a refund or replacement.

While this gives us the heebie-jeebies, we honestly would prefer finding spiders in our produce rather than, say, nose rings. And the Whole Foods shopper apparently agrees; she told News 12 that she'll continue buying only organic produce. Who hasn't come across a worm in an apple, or a tiny spider on their homegrown peaches? It's much better than seeing footage of a rat running across a window display.

Connecticut woman finds black widow spider in bag of grapes

Laurie Fitzgerald was snacking on fresh grapes with her 11-year-old son when suddenly she spotted something crawling inside the bag. When she took a closer look, she realized it was a venomous black widow spider.

The mom from Branford, Connecticut, told WVIT she had just bought the bag of grapes from a nearby Stop & Shop early MondaIt makes you nervous,” Fitzgerald told the news station. “It makes you wonder where they’re importing the grapes from.”

Black widow spiders are considered the deadliest arachnids in the U.S., with a venomous bite about 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake’s, according to National Geographic.

Fortunately, she spotted the arachnid just in time — before it had a chance to bite.

“In humans, bites produce muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult,” National Geographic explained in a post online.

Stop & Shop confirmed the incident to WVIT on Tuesday.

“Stop & Shop and our grape growers take necessary measures to keep spiders out of the grapes that are sold. Despite that effort, it is possible for a spider to get into the bunches as they are a part of the natural, organic environment,” the grocery store chain said in a statement to the news station.

This isn’t the first time a venomous crawler has been spotted inside a bag of store-bought produce. In late June, an Ohio man reported finding a lively black widow crawling on top of his broccoli.

“The spider came out and started waving his hands. It was pretty obvious he was alive since he was throwing his hands in every direction. He did not seem pleased,” Jacob Vaughn, of South Toledo, told WTOL at the time.

Black widow spider bites can be fatal, especially for young children or the elderly, but they’re pretty rare. The critters typically only use venom as a defense mechanism.

© 2018 US Food Safety Corporation. No copyright claim is made for portions of this blog and linked items that are works of the United States Government, state governments or third parties.

Provo woman finds a black widow in grapes

PROVO — Kimberly Warner was chatting on the phone and washing the red grapes she had just purchased from the Orem Costco on Monday afternoon when she spotted it: a big, black spider.

"I thought it was just a big, monster grape spider," the Provo homemaker and mother of three said.

Then Warner saw the hourglass shape on the spider's back.

She ran to tell her husband, who didn't believe her at first. But after looking it up on the Internet, he determined it was a female black widow.

"I called my family and a bunch of my friends and told them to check their containers," Warner said. "I normally just grab one grape after another."

Warner trapped the spider in a jam container, along with a grape for the spider to eat, while she and her husband decided what to do with it. She described the spider as "shiny and pokey with long front legs." It was a little larger than a quarter, with a body about the size of two peas put together, Warner said.

She called Costco on Monday night, and by Tuesday morning, a manager from Costco called her to apologize. He then went to her house to retrieve the spider and information on the container about where the grapes were grown.

On Tuesday night, Warner got a call from the grower based in Bakersfield, Calif., who apologized and wanted to make sure Warner wasn't bitten or harmed in any way.

Jeff Warner, manager of the Orem Costco, said if another customer reports finding a black widow, the warehouse wholesaler will take further action.

"Costco is one of the best for pulling product if there is any concern," said Jeff Warner (no relation to Kimberly Warner). "This is just an isolated case right now. Insects are just about everywhere you go. That's why it's so important to clean your produce."

Growers use pesticides, he said, but they don't want to overdo it.

If bitten by a black widow, a person should go to the hospital to be treated, said Shawn Clark, insect collections manager at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU.

Usually, bite victims are treated and then released, Clark said, though some bites can land a person in the hospital for a few days.

The level of danger of a black widow bite depends on a person's health, sensitivity to the venom and how much venom the spider releases, he said. The venom is a toxin that affects the functioning of the nervous system, Clark said. The worst symptom to have after a bite is trouble breathing, he said.

"There is lots of folklore on black widow spiders," Clark said. "Yes, it could be life-threatening in some situations, but it's not as dangerous as some people make out a bite to be."

Kimberly Warner said finding the spider will not stop her from buying grapes from Costco or any other store. But she'll be sure to check for spiders before popping a grape into her mouth in the future — and she cautions others to do the same.

"As long as you are watching, there is no worry," she said. "Just be aware you might find a little buddy in your container."

Woman finds black widow spider in organic grapes

A New Hampshire woman is warning others to carefully check and wash their produce before eating it after finding what appears to be a black widow spider in organic grapes.

&ldquoThey looked good, and I did open up the container to make sure that it was firm, because I didn't want mushy grapes,&rdquo Michele Lechner said. &ldquoI was putting them into a container to take them to work and I was eating a couple, and I happened to look down, thankfully, and I saw a black thing.&rdquo

Lechner took some photos of the spider and searched on Google to find out kind of spider the black arachnid with an orange belly was.

&ldquoI yelled to my husband, &lsquoCan you come in here? I think there's a black widow in the grapes,&rsquo&rdquo she said.

Black widows are poisonous. Their bites can make people sick and even be deadly, especially to the young and elderly.

The spider in Lechner&rsquos grapes, which she purchased at an Epping supermarket, was likely in the packaging since they were picked in California.

Michigan Woman Finds Black Widow Spider Inside Package of Grapes

She "freaked out" after finding this potentially deadly creature in the package.

Bag of Grapes Produces Fear With Black Widow Discovery

— -- A woman says she made a potentially deadly discovery inside a package of grapes she bought from a Walmart Supercenter in Troy, Michigan: a black widow spider.

Ariel Jackson, 25, bought the grapes for a barbecue party at her sister's house this past Sunday, her boyfriend, Michael Frank, told ABC News. When Jackson started washing the grapes in the perforated container, she noticed a black widow spider crawling inside the package and "freaked out," he said.

"She was screaming about a huge spider, and everyone was like, 'Calm down, it's probably nothing,'" Frank, 26, said. "But we took a closer look and lo-and-behold, it's a black widow. It had the red hourglass-shaped spot on its belly."

Frank said Jackson tried to call the local fire department and animal shelter to get advice on "how to dispose of it," but since both departments were closed, she resorted to 911.

"When I called them, I said, 'This isn’t really an emergency, but I have a black widow spider,'" Jackson told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit. "And he’s like, 'Just kill it,’ and I’m like, 'Me? You want me to kill it?’"

Frank said he took photos and video of the spider before he and Jackson's brother sprayed it with an insect killer. It eventually died after "quite a few sprays," he said.

"It was definitely frightening," Frank said. "My girlfriend is still definitely shaken up. The smallest little things freak her out now. I mean, it's not every day you see a black widow spider."

He added that Jackson's 1-year-old nephew was in the house at the time they were washing the grapes, and they're glad no one got hurt.

The black widow's venom is a "neurotoxin that produces pain at the bite area and then spreads to the chest, abdomen, or the entire body," according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC added that though death is a possibility in "severe cases," more common symptoms include itching or a rash, pain at the site of the bite, a reddish or purplish blister, muscle pain or cramping, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, anxiety and high blood pressure,

Frank said he and Jackson also called the Walmart Supercenter to tell them about the spider, and he claimed that an employee from the store asked them to bring in the grape package with the spider inside along with a receipt to get refunded.

He said they didn't want to bring in the package with the spider inside, so they just let it go, though they'd "still really appreciate an apology from Walmart."

Walmart told ABC News in a statement, "Our stores have procedures in place to help ensure products meet our high expectations for fresh, quality food. We take food safety seriously and encourage customers to work with store management so that appropriate measures can be taken to fully understand what may have happened."

Woman finds black widow spider in bag of grapes from Troy Walmart

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Yet Another Shopper Finds Black Widow Spider In Grapes, This Time From Walmart

Thanks for visiting As of October 2017, Consumerist is no longer producing new content, but feel free to browse through our archives. Here you can find 12 years worth of articles on everything from how to avoid dodgy scams to writing an effective complaint letter. Check out some of our greatest hits below, explore the categories listed on the left-hand side of the page, or head to for ratings, reviews, and consumer news.

Yet Another Shopper Finds Black Widow Spider In Grapes, This Time From Walmart

A Michigan woman’s scary run-in with a creepy, crawly spider serves as a great reminder of the importance of washing your fresh produce when you bring it home, because there could be a black widow spider just hanging out in that bunch of grapes, you know, just waiting for you.

WXYZ-TV in Detroit reports that the woman had started washing the grapes she’d just purchased at Walmart when a black widow crawled out.

“I’ve never seen one before in person and then here it is, ‘Hi!’” she said.

After meeting her new friend, the woman wasn’t sure what to do, so she called 9-1-1.

“When I called them, I said ‘This isn’t really an emergency, but I have a black widow spider’ and he’s like ‘Just kill it’ and I’m like ‘Me? You want me to kill it?’”

Her brother and her boyfriend took the spider outside and sprayed it with insect killer until it was dead, CBS Detroit reports.

While the woman tells WXYZ that she’s glad the spider was found before anyone was hurt, she doesn’t think she’ll be buying grapes anytime soon.

The Troy-area Walmart where the woman bought the fruit says they are investigating the unwelcome critter.

“When it comes to food safety, we take all allegations seriously,” the company says in statement. “We are working to investigate all aspects of this allegation and taking appropriate measures to fully understand what may have happened. Our stores have procedures in place to help ensure products meet our high expectations for fresh, quality food.”

Produce is routinely checked by U.S. Customs, but from time to time insects and other things slip through. That’s certainly been the case lately when it comes to black widow spiders and grapes.

Black widow spiders like to build webs in vineyards, where they snack on insects and are generally helpful.

While they don’t want to end up in a colander in a suburban home, it’s a good idea to check your fruit before eating it, especially red grapes, which provide spiders with more cover. Remove grapes from the package before washing. Look for any insects. Don’t reach into the middle of the bag.

Just this year, Consumerist has reported on two incidents of the spiders found in the bunches of fruit, including one that resulted in a woman hospitalized with a bite.

In that case, which happened in May, the woman had purchased grapes from a Shaw’s supermarket in Massachusetts. The woman was reportedly hospitalized after she reached her hand into the bag of fruit and the spider crawled up her arm and took a bite.

People bitten by black widows might experience some muscle pain, experts say, requiring treatment at the hospital to have the situation monitored. Severe cases can require anti-venom, and most people are back to normal after a few days.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.

Woman finds black widow in green grapes bought at Hannaford in South Portland

'I screamed like a little girl,' she says, after finding the poisonous arachnid in a bunch of seedless grapes from California.

A black widow spider that hitched a ride on a bunch of California grapes gave a Portland woman quite a scare.

Melissa Emmons said she bought the seedless green grapes from the Hannaford supermarket at Mill Creek in South Portland. As she was separating them into small bags for freezing, she felt something like a piece of hair on her hand, looked in the bag and saw what appeared to be a spider’s web.


SIZE: 1.5 inches long, 0.25 inches in body diameter

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 1 to 3 years

RANGE: They are found in temperate regions around the world.

BITE: The spider’s venom is up to 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s venom. Black widow spiders are considered the most venomous spiders in North America.

NOT DEADLY: Spider bites typically produce muscle aches and nausea, but most people suffer no serious damage.

Source: National Geographic

Pulling the bunch out of the bag over her sink, she saw the spider.

“I screamed like a little girl,” said Emmons, 41.

Her boyfriend then sprayed the spider with insecticide, flipping it on its back and revealing the signature red hourglass marking of a black widow.

“He knew what it was,” Emmons said of her boyfriend, who lived in California, where the poisonous spiders are common.

She called the store, and an employee asked her to bring in the dead spider. She did so on Friday morning, she said.

A manager who answered the phone at the supermarket said the store’s grapes had been checked since the report of the spider, but deferred all other questions to the company’s media relations department, where a phone rang unanswered Friday.

Hannaford spokesman Michael Norton said in an email that he wasn’t aware of the situation.

“It would be unusual, but not impossible for something like this to occur,” he wrote.

Incidents of people finding black widow spiders in grapes are not uncommon.

In May, a Vermont woman was bitten by a black widow that crawled out of a bunch of grapes purchased at a Shaw’s supermarket. In 2013, a grocery chain pulled grapes from stores in the Midwest after the spiders were found in bunches bought in several states.

It’s even happened before at Hannaford, a Scarborough-based supermarket chain with 180 stores in five states in the Northeast.

In 2003, a Windham woman found a black widow in grapes bought at the Hannaford store in Falmouth. In 1991, Hannaford stopped selling grapes from a California supplier after a woman found a black widow in a bunch purchased at the Gorham Shop ‘n Save and two more were found in packing crates at a distribution center in South Portland, according to an Associated Press story at the time.

That same week, Stop & Shop had stopped selling California grapes at its stores in southern New England.

Food safety experts have said there has been an increase in insects and other pests found in produce as a result of a reduction in the use of pesticides, some of which have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects.

The state has no record of complaints about black widow spiders found in food, according to John Bott, spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

If the department received such a complaint, he said, inspectors from the Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations would look into it to see if there were any food safety violations.

Finding a spider in produce, however, falls into a “gray area,” he said, because it’s not an “actual impurity with the food.”

He said it would be up to the store to respond to the situation, and Hannaford has a good record of doing that quickly.

Bill Marler, a food safety advocate and attorney from Seattle, said he wouldn’t expect the store to pull all of its grapes, but it should wash and check them again and contact the supplier.

The black widow spider, predominantly found in the southern and western United States, can be identified by its shiny black body and red hourglass shape on its underside.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 minutes to an hour after being bitten by a black widow spider, a person can experience dull muscle pain that spreads from the area of the bite to the entire body.

Other symptoms may include anxiety, muscle cramps and weakness, difficulty breathing, high blood pressure and sweating. Pregnant women may go into premature labor.

Severe symptoms last a couple of days, while milder ones may persist for weeks. Death is rare, but young children, the elderly and the extremely ill are at greater risk.

A person bitten by a black widow spider should wrap ice in a washcloth, place it on the affected area and seek emergency medical attention, according to the Library of Medicine.

Emmons isn’t swearing off eating grapes or shopping at the store, but hoped something would be done to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else – with a potentially worse outcome.

Albertville woman finds black widow spider in grapes bought at Target

An Albertville woman got a shock on Monday when she opened a bag of grapes from her local Target – and found a deadly black widow spider inside.

Kelly Steinke posted photos of her਍iscovery on Facebook, saying she found the "very nasty surprise" in the bag of grapes after she had washed them in vinegar and baking soda.

"It could have been much worse," she told the North Wright County Today. "I posted it to a spider identification site and they confirmed it was most likely a juvenile, Western Black Widow."

"It&aposs crazy," she added. "You realize you might find a bug or two in your produce sometimes, but a dangerous spider like that is pretty scary."

Although the spider, which has a distinctive red underbelly, wasn&apost moving when she found it, Steinke wasn&apost taking any chances and put the bag into the freezer and immediately called Target.

She told FOX 9 that she had bought the green grapes at the Target in Monticello, and noted that the Minneapolis-based retailer has been "very helpful," refunding her for all the produce she bought along with her grapes.

The TV station notes that black widow spiders are found mostly in the south and west of the United States, usually in barns, sheds, stone walls, fences, porch furniture and woodpiles.

Several spiders found this week

The case in Albertville is just the latest in a series of incidents of black widow spiders being found in bunches of grapes.

One of them also involved Target, with CBS Chicago reporting that a shopper at the retail giant&aposs store in Algonquin, Illinois found one of the spiders in a plastic box of grapes this past weekend. Target told CBS it would follow up with its supplier following the incident.

ABC 13 reports that a 21-year-old woman required hospital treatment after she was bitten by an adult਋lack widow sold at a Shaw&aposs grocery store in Colchester, Vermont, last week.

A woman Commerce Township, Michigan, also found one last week in a bunch of red seedless grapes that had originally come from Mexico, WXYZ reports, which she noticed as she was eating the grapes with her brother.

And the BBC reports that an entire nest of black widow spiders were found in a bunch of grapes bought from an Asda store by a resident of Leamington Spa, England, on Tuesday.

According to Live Science, black widows&apos venom is reportedly 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake&aposs, and can cause nausea, sweating, pain in the abdomen and back, and paralysis of the diaphragm that can lead to breathing problems.

Although the spiders only bite when threatened (such as when someone sits on them), anyone bitten should seek treatment immediately, though the bites are rarely fatal, though do pose significantly more danger for children, the elderly and the infirm.

What This Girl Found in Her Bag of Grapes Will Chill You to the Core

Imagine this: You just bought a delicious bag of grapes and when you get home, you go about rising them off so that you can chow down on your healthy snack. Only when you're rinsing them, a massive, super scary, poisonous spider crawls out of the bag!

Ummm, that's literally your biggest nightmare, but that's what Ariel Jackson from Michigan is claiming happened to her when she went to rinse off a bag of grapes she purchased at Walmart. "All of the sudden I just see this black spider come crawling out," she shared with CBS, Detroit of the scary incident.

Ariel claims the spider was the seriously poisonous black widow spider. Here's a seriously scary picture of it that Ariel managed to take (after thoroughly freaking out, we're sure).

Ummm. Yeah. That spider does not look friendly.

Apparently, Ariel was so scared of the spider, she called the police. "I told them that 'this isn't really an emergency, but I have a Black Widow spider in my grapes and I don't really know what to do,'" she shared of the scary moment. "He kind of just paused and was like, 'kill it' and I was like 'you want me to kill it? You're not going to send anyone over? This is a poisonous spider.' And he's like, 'yeah, just kill it and throw it away."

So, with the help of her boyfriend and brother, that's exactly what Ariel did. Luckily, no one was harmed while dealing with this seriously scary spider.


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