Venomous spiders have been found on grapes in several states
Black widow spiders have recently been found on grapes in at least four states.
Every once in a while a worm is found in an apple or a slug on one's organic spinach. It can be a bit disconcerting for the entomophobes of the world, but bugs happen sometimes. This week, though, a woman was rattled when she found a live black widow spider in a package of grapes she had purchased at the supermarket.
According to the Huffington Post, Yvonne Whalen of Pennsylvania was washing her grapes in her sink Thursday when she saw a long, black leg creep out at her. She screamed and jumped away, and when she got a better look the spider she noticed the telltale red hourglass mark on its abdomen. A bug expert later confirmed that it was indeed a black widow spider.
The same thing has happened in at least four states recently.
Not long before Whalen found her spider, a man in Michigan found a live black widow in a bag of grapes from his local Kroger store. At the beginning of the month, Aldi pulled its entire stock of grapes off the shelves in Milwaukee after a customer found a live black widow in a carton of grapes in one store in that area. According to Food Safety News, two black widow spiders were found in packages of red grapes at an Aldi in St. Louis in October, and one was reportedly found in a school in September.
Black widows like to build their webs in grape vineyards, so it makes sense that they would occasionally wind up on grapes. They are the most venomous spider in North America, and their bite can be fatal, especially to children and the elderly. They are not normally aggressive, but they will bite in self-defense.
Mexican grapes pulled from shelves after venomous spiders found
The bite of the spiders found in imported grapes causes a pain "like having your skin ripped off".
Supermarket chains are pulling Mexican grapes from their shelves after the discovery of 10 venomous spiders since Friday.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirmed it has received 10 reports of spiders found in grapes at several locations around the country - five black widows, one brown widow, two yellow sac spiders and a further two have yet to be identified.
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The Ministry has been working with New Zealand produce retailers to have all imported Mexican grapes withdrawn from sale.
MPI manager of surveillance Brendan Gould said it was likely some grapes from the affected shipments will have already been sold and the Ministry is advising people who have bought imported grapes in the past few weeks to be on the lookout.
"We recommend that if people have recently bought imported table grapes, they should carefully check them for the presence of any insects. In the unlikely event that they find a spider, they should immediately bag the grapes (and spider/s) and seal them, and contact our Hotline 0800 80 99 66," Gould said.
He said there are strict controls in place for the importation of grapes from other countries.
In the case of Mexico, grapes are inspected visually and fumigation is only done if spiders and other pests are identified.
"We take this matter very seriously and we are investigating how this breach has occurred and taking measures to tighten up the system," Gould said.
He said importers of Mexican grapes in transit here are being given the option of treating or destroying them on arrival in New Zealand.
Mexico's exporting season for grapes has now finished for the year, he said.
The Ministry said none of the spiders identified to date pose a risk to New Zealand's horticultural industries.
Foodstuffs corporate PR director Antoinette Laird confirmed one spider was discovered in grapes at New World Rolleston and other Foodstuffs stores have reported similar finds.
She said Foodstuffs has been working with MPI on the issue.
"Foodstuffs has taken a very conservative approach to withdraw all affected product as customer safety is our top priority," she said.
Foodstuffs was alerted on Friday to the potential discovery of black widow spiders in Mexican Desert Pride Red and Black grapes, which has since been confirmed.
In a statement, Foodstuffs said product from the suspected batch was withdrawn from sale on Friday and on Monday, all Foodstuffs stores in both the North and South Islands have withdrawn all Mexican green, red and black grapes from the shelf.
Additional steps have been required for all importers of grapes from Mexico to show evidence of product fumigation before accepting them into stores for sale.
Foodstuff said its customers should inspect and wash all grapes before consuming them.
A Countdown spokesperson said MPI requested Countdown, owned by Progressive Enterprises, withdraw all grapes from Mexico from sale. They had been distributed to Countdown stores in the South Island.
Countdown immediately complied with the withdrawal and removed Mexican grapes from sale from North Island stores on Wednesday.
The spokesperson said no spiders had been sighted as yet and they would implement more extensive inspections of the grapes.
MPI also requested additional fumigation.
One of the spider discoveries was made in Wairoa by a teacher at education and childcare centre Kids' House.
The teacher, Aira Bremner, told The Wairoa Star she was washing a bag of Mexican red seedless grapes when she noticed a black spider tumble out and fall onto the chopping board.
The spider was identified by MPI as a black widow.
A similar case of black widows being found in grapes, which also came from Mexico, happened just one month ago in Warwickshire, England.
The man who found the spiders in a bag of purchased grapes found a number of baby spiders crawling around the grapes.
Upon further inspection by a local wildlife sanctuary, there was found to be an entire nest inside where a spider had given birth.
Curator at Canterbury Museum and spider expert Cor Vink said the chances of dying from a bite from any of the discovered species of spiders were very slim.
"What widow venom does is it causes an extreme amount of pain and that doesn't respond to usual pain medication. But anti-venom is easily available," he said.
Vink said the pain had been likened by people to having their skin torn off.
Widow bites cause a lot of sweating, with pain starting roughly half an hour after the bite. There may also be nausea and breathing problems.
Yellow sac spiders also have a painful bite but far less so than widows and they do not cause any serious health threats. Anti-venom was also available for bites from this species.
Vink said the chances of getting bitten by these types of spiders was also low because they prefer to hide away, which was probably why they managed to get onto the shipment of grapes.
"They really stay out of people's way. You'd have to pick them up and handle them or get them caught in clothing," he said.
Vink recommended anyone who gets bitten by a spider to catch it, get it identified by a spider expert and seek treatment from a doctor.
New Zealand already has its own species of widow spider found on beaches ranging from the north of Dunedin to the top of the North Island.
But those numbers were thought to be declining due to increased construction of houses and vegetation taking over beaches.
Vink said there were only two reported deaths from this species, both of which were children in the 1850s who died of complications.
Central Otago is also home to the Australian redback spider, which Vink said was threatening the existence of the Cromwell Chafer beetle, a rare species found only in New Zealand.
If other species of spiders managed to establish themselves in the country, there could be dire consequences for New Zealand's native fauna.
"Any spider that establishes here can potentially have effect on native fauna because spiders are all predators. They can also displace other spiders.
"In New Zealand we have an estimated 2000 species of spiders and 90 per cent are found nowhere else in the world. There's even more insects in New Zealand and about 95 per cent of them are only found in NZ as well.
"Any threat to them is pretty serious."
Anyone bitten by a spider should contact their doctor. Information is also available by calling the Ministry of Health's Healthline on 0800 611 116.
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."
This one is probably best identified by a specialist in Mississippi I'm in southern New Mexico---far, far from you and likely much drier and hotter than Mississippi.
Since you can get on-line, I suggest typing this into your browser:
'Mississippi State University Entomology'
Then find a list of their faculty and contact Dr. Richard Brown---
That should work. Good luck. I think it's highly unlikely to be important to the health of you, your family or pets. The widow spiders would be #1 concern, possibly recluse spiders #2.i
Your little spider doesn't appear to be related to the widows. Outdoors, the widows are doing a good job of feeding on assorted insects that could be problems for crops or landscape plants they and other spiders are 'unsung heroes' in many circumstances. It's just that the big widows have a venom that's toxic to humans if they are unfortunate enough to be bitten.
In general, little spiders---you set the definition for little---are too small to bite or have mouthparts to weak to penetrate our tough old hides. Even if they do bite, the reaction is most likely comparable to that of a mosquito.
Good housekeeping (yuck, huh?) on a regular basis takes care of most spider problems in a house. They can't thrive with all of that disturbance that likely also kills potential prey. Also, spiders have surprisingly delicate bodies---can't stand the rough and tumble of house cleaning.
I hope this helps. keep observing, that's a good way to learn what's what and who's who.
Venomous spiders found on imported fruit and foods
A few weeks ago, while washing red grapes purchased from the local market, a Pennsylvania woman brushed her fingers against a black widow spider hidden within the berries. In Michigan, a young man found a black widow in a bag of grapes he bought at a Kroger supermarket. In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a woman spotted a black widow while inspecting a container of red grapes she bought at an Aldi supermarket. People were evacuated from a grocery store in Germany after spotting a Brazilian wandering spider under a shelf by a delivery of bananas. In the United Kingdom, a family found Brazilian wandering spiders in their bananas.
Surprise bunch: Spider found in grapes
1 of 3 Nora Weiss, who found a black widow spider in grapes she purchased at Whole Foods, poses at her home on Woodland Avenue in Bridgeport, Conn. on Tuesday December 4, 2012. Christian Abraham Show More Show Less
2 of 3 A photo from Nora Weiss' facebook page shows a black widow spider she says she found in a package of organic grapes bought at Whole Foods. Contributed Photo Show More Show Less
BRIDGEPORT -- Maybe pesticides aren't such a bad idea after all.
But don't tell that to a Black Rock woman who insisted Tuesday that she'll stick with organic produce -- even after finding a potentially deadly black widow spider in a bag of imported organic grapes she bought at Whole Foods in Fairfield.
"I would never knowingly put poison into my system," said yoga instructor Nora Weiss, 27, about the pesticides non-organic farmers use to kill spiders and insects. "I'd definitely risk coming face to face with a spider than that.''
The unsuspecting Weiss made the shocking discovery after buying organic grapes from California at the high-end Grasmere Avenue grocery.
She took them out of the bag to wash them when the venomous spider -- which was still alive -- popped out, its hourglass-shaped red markings clearly visible on its body.
On Monday, an alarmed Weiss took to Facebook to warn other shoppers of the potential dangers lurking in the produce aisle.
"Attention all Fairfield Whole Foods Customers. I just found a black widow spider in my Sunview Organic Table Grapes bag. If you just bought or will be buying these grapes or any other produce from them, carefully inspect and wash them with rubber gloves. Ahhhhhh. Totally freaked me out!" she wrote, while posting a photo of the frightening find.
A Whole Foods spokesman in Washington, D.C. said such incidents are rare, but can happen when customers are dealing with organic produce.
"Insects are indigenous to organic produce, it's not sprayed with pesticide so there's nothing to kill the bugs," said Michael Sinatra.
He said the chain's "team members" wear gloves and carefully inspect the produce that comes into each store to make sure there are no stowaways, poisonous or otherwise.
But sometimes the scary critters go undetected.
"In this particular case, it was a small spider, about the size of the grape, so it was missed," Sinatra added. "We certainly don't want it to happen. The safety of our shoppers is incredibly important. And we also offered the customer a refund."
As for the spider, Weiss said her boyfreind, James Boncek, released it in her yard.
"My boyfriend let it go outside,'' Weiss said. "That's how we live. It's a living animal and we have no hard feelings.''
And despite the scare, Weiss remains a Whole Foods fan.
"I will always eat organic and I love grapes. I'm not going to give them up,'' she said, adding that Whole Foods officials contacted her through her Facebook page to apologize. "They took it very seriously and they were very helpful.''
Her mother, on the other hand, remained dubious of the benefits of organic produce.
"I have arachnophobia, so I prefer the ones with pesticide,'' Suzan Weiss wrote on her daughter's Facebook page, where more than 40 people had commented on her plight.
Some suspicious posters noted that the incident is welcome proof there is no pesticide on the produce.
One even suggested that Weiss get the weight of the spider deducted from the price of the package of grapes.
"How did you not have a panic attack?'' Addie Schoen asked, while Alex Torres wondered: "Keeping him as a pet?"
Widow spiders transmit a neurotoxin when they bite that is about 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's, according to the National Geographic Society web site.
Although they are considered the most venomous spiders in North America, the black widows are non-aggressive and human fatalities are rare, the magazine's web site said.
The spider, known for its hourglass-shaped marking, is popularly called the "black widow'' because females often cannibalize the males as the culmination of their mating ritual.
Although black widow spiders are common in the southern and western United States, they are not often found in Connecticut.
State Department of Agriculture officials know of five incidents over the past 20 years of venomous insects in produce, spokesman George Krivda said.
Michigan family finds black widow spider in bag of grapes
MILFORD, Mich. – A Metro Detroit family says they found an unwanted passenger in a bag of grapes purchased at a grocery store. It’s the sort of story that makes your skin crawl, and beyond that -- there’s video evidence.
Andy Russo documented, on video, what his wife Karen brought home from the grocery store Monday. A spider had somehow made its way into a bag of grapes and traveled from the store into their Milford home.
The spider is believed to be a black widow. Drop for drop, a black widow’s venom is believed to be 15 times more deadly than rattlesnake venom. According to the Saint Louis Zoo, very few people bitten by a black widow spider actually die -- but the bite is painful.
After being discovered, the spider was bagged -- three times -- and rushed out to the garage. As of Tuesday night, the spider was still alive. The family isn’t angry at the grocery store, but they are relieved they noticed the spider before it could escape into their home.
The family isn’t sure what to do with the spider, in case the store wants more information.
If there’s a biology teacher out there who wants a black widow spider, contact Local 4 and we’ll put you in touch.
Woman Finds Black Widow Spider Nestled Among Store-Bought Grapes
A really good reminder to check your fresh produce this summer.
It&aposs any home cook&aposs worst nightmare—grapes that bite back. It became reality earlier this week for one shopper in Branford, Connecticut, after she ripped into a bag of newly purchased grapes only to find something she didn&apost quite bargain for.
The Associated Press reports that the shopper, who has chosen to remain anonymous, headed to a local Stop & Shop store in Branford on Monday to pick up some groceries for her family, including a pre-packaged bunch of fresh grapes for her 11-year-old son. It wasn&apost until the mother and her son were halfway through eating the grapes that they noticed a fully grown Black Widow spider inside of the bag.
Stay up to date on what healthy means now.
Luckily, neither the mother or son were harmed by the Black Widow𠅊nd no, they did not accidentally bite into the potentially deadly spider. And like any smart shopper would, the woman chose to bring back the organic grapes to the Shop & Stop where she got a full refund. In fact, Stop & Shop offered her a double refund for a terrifying situation that just might have that household off grapes for a while.
Think this is terrifying? Read on:
A local team of NBC Connecticut journalists reached out to Stop & Shop for comment, and the Northeastern grocery chain got back to them immediately with a statement:
“Stop & Shop and our grape growers take necessary measures to keep spiders out of the grapes that are sold," part of the statement reads. "Despite that effort, it is possible for a spider to get into the bunches as they are a part of the natural, organic environment.”
Apparently, Stop & Shop says their organic grapes come from a supplier in California—NBC has reached out to that supplier, but has yet to hear back.
Meanwhile, the rather unlucky shopper hopes her story inspires other home cooks to take a closer look at their fresh purchases𠅊 great piece of advice for anyone this summer.
Black Widows Found On Grapes At Supermarkets In Several States
A Pennsylvania woman got quite the shock Thursday when she was washing some red grapes and felt her fingers brush up against something slimy. Yvonne Whalen saw a long spider leg creep over the top of one of the pieces of fruit and immediately dropped the colander into the sink.
A spider expert later confirmed what Whalen's initial Internet search revealed -- it was a young black widow crawling on the grapes.
The appetite-ruining find follows several similar instances of the deadly spiders found on grapes at supermarkets in Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Food Safety News reports.
Yvonne Duckhorn was inspecting a container of red grapes at an Aldi supermarket in Wauwatosa, Wis., earlier this month, when she spotted something peculiar.
"I saw the legs moving frantically," Duckhorn recalled to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. "I've seen bugs on fruit before, and I thought, 'That is a very big spider.' Nothing I'd ever seen before."
Duckhorn wrapped the container in a plastic bag and handed it off to an employee, warning that she spotted a red marking on the spider's abdomen -- a common characteristic of Black widows. As a precaution, the chain opted to remove all grapes from stores in the Milwaukee area.
In another incident this month in Michigan, 20-year-old Callum Merry noticed a spider web in a bag of grapes purchased at a Kroger store in Brighton.
"I looked in the grapes and there was a black widow staring right at me," Merry told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV. While Merry wanted to release the spider outside, fortunately, his 14-year-old brother recognized the danger and intervened.
Black widow spiders -- known for their red, hour-glass shaped insignia -- are venomous and their bite can be fatal, especially in small children and the elderly, without treatment. It's not uncommon for black widows to be found among grapes, since the spiders often build their webs in grape vineyards.
Brown Widow bites woman eating grapes in Michigan
Subject: Found in grapes
Location: Southeast Michigan
June 1, 2017 7:28 pm
My wife was bitten in the finger as she was packing some grapes in a bag. We live in southeast michigan but not sure where the grapes come from
Signature: Bill Lowry
This sure looks like an immature Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricus, to us, but viewing through the plastic bag is somewhat distorting. Here is a BugGuide image for comparison. The Brown Widow is a recently introduced species According to BugGuide: “World wide in the tropical zone. It was introduced in Florida and has since been observed moving north through Georgia, and into South Carolina it has also been officially recorded in California, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.” If the grapes were imported from California, it is entirely possible that a Brown Widow was imported with them. BugGuide also notes: “Widow Bites: NOTE: It is recognized that this particular species of widow is most likely not medically significant (not an immediate medical concern to those who are bitten). The brown widow produces clinical effects similar to that of the black widow but the typical symptoms and signs being milder and tending to be restricted to the bite site and surrounding tissues. Brown widow spiders usually curl up into a ball, and drop to the ground as a primary defense. It is highly recommended that people leave this spider alone observe, but don’t touch. The brown widow is an extremely timid spider which has rarely been reported to bite.”
2 Responses to Brown Widow bites woman eating grapes in Michigan
Our literature says the same. But I’ll try to translate three cases of adults who was biten by L. geometricus:
“After about 8 hours I felt chills and started an intense pain, I continued using antiallergics and ointment, after about 12 hours I sweated constantly, much sweat, abnormal, and after the sweat passed the pain extended for some 3 days.” Ítalo Dias, adult male, the mildest case.
Well, I was bitten by this spider, and I was in a lot of pain for 24 hours, and even taking analgesic, the pain did not pass, it only softened. I had a sweat, a vomiting, and a lot of pain in the groin with strong cramps in the bottom of my belly. The bite was in the leg, knee height. Thank you for your attention.
Carla, adult female.
Woman finds two black widow spiders in bag of grapes she bought at grocery store
OMAHA, Neb. — A woman found two black widow spiders in a bag of grapes she bought at a grocery store.
KETV reported that the woman has since taken the spiders to a nature center for safekeeping.
An employee at the nature center said this isn’t the first time it’s happened.
“Statistics, there are 700 to 800 people in America that find black widows in their grapes every year,” said Molly Mullen, a spokesperson for the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center.
Black widows are considered the most venomous spider in North America. Their venom is reported to be many times stronger than a rattlesnake, but they only bite humans when disturbed.
The grocery store that sold the grapes said it has implemented several procedures to help control spiders and ensure that they do not make it into distribution channels