A Pennsylvania woman finds black widows in the grapes she bought at the local market. And this isn’t the only case of the venomous critters getting into our food supply.
Among the grapes she spotted what appeared to be a drenched spider web. A long black leg came up over one of the red grapes revealing the plumb body of black widow spider.
Maybe it was the spider’s large belly or long legs that gave Whalen pause. Regardless of the reason, she said the spider appeared unusual enough to capture.
A few hours later, she found a second black widow spider laying dead among the grapes.
After a quick Internet search, Whalen said she found that the spider’s marking matched those of a juvenile black widow spider.
The identification was confirmed by a local insect expert. Smart move to save the specimens! They were likely torpid (one was dead) from being kept in the fridge. The grocery chain regrets the incident. Of course, it was not their fault but considering that hitchhikers seem to be using produce as a vehicle lately, it might be worth a more careful inspection. With gloves.
Earlier this month, a black widow was found in grapes in Milwaukee. Black widows are commonly found in warmer areas, so it may be that they were in with the grapes from their original location. It will be curious to see if these incidents trace back to the same supplier or area. But in the past, it was more related to less use of pesticides on grapes. No pesticides? You get pests. That’s the tradeoff.
Reports of black widow spiders on grapes have popped up in the past few months in Missouri, Michigan and Minnesota.
Earlier this week, a black widow spider was found in grapes from a Kroger store in Detroit, according to news reports.
In early October, two consumers in the St. Louis area reported finding black widow spiders in grapes purchased from different Aldi stores.
And in September, a black widow was found in a shipment of grapes in the lunchroom of a Twin Cities school.
I know spiders in fruit freak people the hell out but this is rare and they are just trying to eek out a living. Let them be and just be careful.