Reaching into a bag of grapes landed a Vermont woman in the hospital. According to the woman’s mother, a black widow spider was living in the bag. When the woman reached into the bag, the spider ran up her arm and bit her.
The women had the amazing presence of mind to capture the spider and take it to the hospital with them. A nurse there confirmed that it was a black widow.
The grapes were at a Shaw’s in Colchester. The store is familar with the story, it happened once before in 2004 at one of their outlets in Williston, Vermont. Shaw’s has responded with a thorough inspection of the grapes in all its stores and has replaced all the food in the family’s fridge.
“The health and safety of products we sell, and our customers, is our first concern,” Shaw’s said in a statement, which was sent to The Washington Post on Wednesday. “We have been closely monitoring the situation and been in contact with the family. We replaced product in the customer’s refrigerator as a precaution and took immediate action to inspect the product at the customer’s store. We also are inspecting the product in all of our Shaw’s stores and have been in touch with the supplier, which has an extensive food safety management system in place.”
The woman was treated and released. She was given a series of shots and will be okay, although she will need to be monitored for months in case complications arise. Fox News reports that a biologist at the University of Vermont says that some areas commonly have black widow spiders living in their houses, but rarely bite. National Geographic describes black widows as non-aggressive and only bite in self defense, such as “when someone accidentally sits on them”. Or has a hankering for grapes, it would appear.
Black widow spider bites usually aren’t deadly, contrary to popular belief, but they can cause pain and muscle cramps. And, they seem to like grapes. In 2013 Aldi Supermarkets in Wisconsin had a similar incident, and around that a family in Michigan also found a black widow in their grapes from a Kroger in Brighton, Michigan. Callum Merry saw a spider web in the bag of grapes and when he investigated he saw a black widow looking back at him. He actually wanted to capture it and release it into the wild but his fourteen year old brother was a bit more cognizant of the danger, and apparently a crackerjack spider hunter. “I had to physically push him away, take the grapes, and put them into a bowl of water to kill it,” said Alex. Well done, kid!