Albertville woman finds black widow spider in grapes bought at Target


An Albertville woman got a shock on Monday when she opened a bag of grapes from her local Target – and found a deadly black widow spider inside.

Kelly Steinke posted photos of her discovery on Facebook, saying she found the "very nasty surprise" in the bag of grapes after she had washed them in vinegar and baking soda.

"It could have been much worse," she told the North Wright County Today. "I posted it to a spider identification site and they confirmed it was most likely a juvenile, Western Black Widow."

"It's crazy," she added. "You realize you might find a bug or two in your produce sometimes, but a dangerous spider like that is pretty scary."

Although the spider, which has a distinctive red underbelly, wasn't moving when she found it, Steinke wasn't taking any chances and put the bag into the freezer and immediately called Target.

She told FOX 9 that she had bought the green grapes at the Target in Monticello, and noted that the Minneapolis-based retailer has been "very helpful," refunding her for all the produce she bought along with her grapes.

The TV station notes that black widow spiders are found mostly in the south and west of the United States, usually in barns, sheds, stone walls, fences, porch furniture and woodpiles.

Several spiders found this week

The case in Albertville is just the latest in a series of incidents of black widow spiders being found in bunches of grapes.

One of them also involved Target, with CBS Chicago reporting that a shopper at the retail giant's store in Algonquin, Illinois found one of the spiders in a plastic box of grapes this past weekend. Target told CBS it would follow up with its supplier following the incident.

ABC 13 reports that a 21-year-old woman required hospital treatment after she was bitten by an adult black widow sold at a Shaw's grocery store in Colchester, Vermont, last week.

A woman Commerce Township, Michigan, also found one last week in a bunch of red seedless grapes that had originally come from Mexico, WXYZ reports, which she noticed as she was eating the grapes with her brother.

And the BBC reports that an entire nest of black widow spiders were found in a bunch of grapes bought from an Asda store by a resident of Leamington Spa, England, on Tuesday.

According to Live Science, black widows' venom is reportedly 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's, and can cause nausea, sweating, pain in the abdomen and back, and paralysis of the diaphragm that can lead to breathing problems.

Although the spiders only bite when threatened (such as when someone sits on them), anyone bitten should seek treatment immediately, though the bites are rarely fatal, though do pose significantly more danger for children, the elderly and the infirm.

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