Black Widow In Grapes: Deadly Spider Discovered In Massachusetts and Rhode Island Supermarkets
Rare and venomous black widow spiders were found hidden in grapes in two seperate incidents this week.
A family in Rhode Island discovered the arachnid when Mr. James Sylvia identified the spider while his wife and 1-year-old son were rinsing the grapes at their kitchen sink. The grapes were purchased at a local Stop & Shop supermarket.
Speaking with the local NBC news channel WHDH, Sylvia warned, "Next time you wash your grapes there may be a black widow spider, so you may want to be careful. They're more common than you'd think but they're not often encountered because of their secretive habits. They're probably the most venous spider in this region."
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Responding to concerns regarding poisonous pests found in fresh produce, the giant supermarket chain Stop & Shop released a statement: "Due to consumer concerns around pesticides, they have been used less over the years which makes the fruit more attractive to insects ... and that (Stop & Shop) works closely with its suppliers to ensure proper inspection and trains its (workers) to check grapes when stocking shelves."
Just a day earlier, Laurie Kaiser from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, reported an identical incident when she discovered a black widow spider lurking in a box of grapes she had bought at the local Shaw's supermarket. Kaiser discovered the spider Wednesday evening when she opened her refridgerator to find the grapes.
Laurie Kaiser has since received a full refund for the grapes from Shaw's supermarket, which also notified its grape distributor regarding the incident.
As James Sylvia warned, the black widow spider is highly poisonous but it is also an easily identifiable spider thanks to some distinctive features. The black widow features a glossy dark black body with a unique red hourglass mark located on its abdomen. The North American black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) grow to just a little more than an inch in length. While a black widow spider isn't particularly large, its venom is extremely potent that attacks its victim's nervous system within 20 minutes to an hour after the bite.
Severe cases cause symptoms including swelling, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, weakness, and tremor. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even chest pains that mimic a heart attack are other symptoms that some victims have experienced. That said, a black widow spider bite is rarely fatal thanks to proper medical treatment.
As a precaution, we urge shoppers to inspect the fruits before purchasing and to also carefully wash the fruit before serving.
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