TORONTO – A woman in Vermont got a nasty surprise this past Friday after she says she was bitten by a Black Widow spider hiding inside a bag of grapes she had just purchased.
The 21-year-old woman did not wish to be identified, but her mother says that when she reached into the bag of grapes, the spider crawled up her arm and bit her.
They say the bag of grapes was purchased at the Shaw’s Market in Colchester, Vermont. The mother said that after her daughter was bitten, she rushed both her and the spider to a local hospital.
A nurse at the hospital was able to confirm to WPTZ News that the spider was, in fact, a Black Widow.
As scary as it may sound, finding a Black Widow amongst your other produce is far from unheard of. In fact, another shopper at a Shaw’s in Williston, Vermont brought a similar Black Widow spider home with him in 2004.
In North America, Black Widows are much more common in the southern U.S. states, but can be found on every continent on Earth (minus Antarctica) and are common in parts of Canada including Southern Ontario.
Known as a Latrodectus spider, the Black Widow’s venom is up to 30 times more venomous than a rattlesnake bite. However, the amount of venom injected per bite means a Black Widow attack is usually not fatal, though it can cause muscle pain, partial paralysis, and flu-like symptoms.
A spokesperson for Shaw’s Public Affairs office issued the following statement on the incident:
“The health and safety of products we sell, and our customers, is our first concern. 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 stores and have been in touch with the supplier, which has an extensive food safety management system in place.”