For the second time in a week, a Black Widow spider has turned up in a bag of grapes sold in a Connecticut supermarket.
When Teryl Imperato said she bought a bag of red grapes from the Stop and Shop in Branford and didn’t expect to find a venomous spider.
"(I) washed them properly, the way you’re supposed to, and I put them in a bowl, started to have a couple of them, and I saw the spider crawl out," she said. "I got pretty concerned. I mean, a lot of people handle these grapes, the workers, the produce people that handle them. I had them in my hands, and I was just concerned that anyone can get bitten."
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station confirmed that this spider was indeed a black widow.
Officials from Stop and Shop said there are reasons why people are finding spiders inside grapes. One is because they don’t use as many pesticides on the fruit.
“Stop & Shop works closely with its suppliers to ensure the proper inspection of product. The Company also trains its store associates to check grapes when stocking shelves,” Amy Murphy St. Laurent, of Stop and Shop, said in a statement.
Dr. Gale Ridge, of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, said this time of year, finding spiders is common.
"What happens is in the California area and Mexican area, where the grapes are grown, Black Widows favor grape clusters to hang out, because they’re hunters like most spiders are, and consequently they get picked up in a bunch of grapes and shipped across the country," Dr. Ridge said.
Dr. Ridge said she’s never heard of any grocery store staff being bitten by a Black Widow because they are timid spiders, but she said if anyone should find one, they should use thick gloves, place the spider in a bag and get it identified.
As for Imperato, she called Stop and Shop herself to report it and wants others to be on the lookout for any spiders making a home in their fruit.
"Their response was basically they would just give me my money back for the grapes. …I wasn’t really interested in that, I just wanted people to be aware that this happened," Imperato said.
On Monday, Nora Weiss bought a bag of organic grapes from a Whole Foods store in Fairfield.
When she took the grapes out of the bag to wash them, she discovered a black widow spider lurking in the bag. The spider was still alive.