Grape Expectations

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Go to the supermarket and pick up a nice bag of grapes. They look delicious, don't they? Just the thing for a nice, healthy snack. Grapes meet all the government guidelines; they are high in fiber and packed with vitamins.

And Black Widow spiders, too.

Sheryl Rosen of Rocky Hill bought a bag of Autumn Royal black seedless grapes on sale Tuesday. It wasn't until Thursday, when she was eating some grapes at work, that she found the spider in the bag.

"I couldn't believe it," said Rosen, who was not injured. "I never thought I'd see a black widow around here."

The spider was taken to the Connecticut Poison Control Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, where Rosen works, and verified as a black widow.

"Right now, we have it in a jar and we will wait until we hear if anyone is investigating further about the source," said Bernard Sangalli, toxicologist and administrative director of the center.

Though a black widow's venom is not usually fatal to humans, the bite is extremely painful. The spider is best known for a distinctive red hourglass shape on its abdomen.

Mona Golub, Price Chopper spokeswoman, said the grocery chain confirmed the incident and removed the grapes as a precaution. She said they came from California.

The animal uprising: coming soon to a supermarket near you.

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5 Responses to Grape Expectations

  1. BubbaB says:

    Ya bunch of wimps!! I live with black widows every stinkin’ day!! My 65-year old mom was bitten by a black widow! You wimpy easterners find one in yur grapes, and you throw a frickin’ hissy fit!!

    What’s a little pain between arthropods, Gaius?

    (By the way, I wasn’t inferring that you are a wimp, Gaius. In fact, I don’t even know where you live, and your profile doesn’t say…)

  2. Gaius says:

    I mentioned my approach to spiders once before. Squash first, identify the carcass afterward.

  3. BubbaB says:

    Here in NM, we have the occasional brown recluse, but they don’t survive very long. It’s too dry. They usually hitch a ride on construction materials from the southeast.

    So, the only SPIDER New Mexico really has to worry about is the black widow. They have a distinctive shape, distinctive environment (closed, dark, damp), and the distinctive hourglass. Only the female is poisonous, and the female is a lot bigger than the male. We had black widows in a shed when I was a kid, so I got to know what they looked like.

    My wife is like you, Gaius. Squash first, ask questions later. If I can identify the spider, I will usually try to release it outside, and let it die of exposure (most inside spiders are house spiders, and don’t survive long out doors, but I digress. I don’t want anything that has more than four legs living in my house.)

    Now, there are other arthropods that I will kill immediately, no questions asked. We get scorpions, we get centipedes/millipedes, we get earwigs (which can pinch with those evil looking claws on the back.) Those die.

    Jerusalem crickets (child of the earths) can inflict a non-poisonous bite, but I haven’t ever had them in the house. Vinegarones (whip scorpions) are just nasty, but I would try to put them outside before I kill them (they stink like vinegar when they are disturbed, or when you smoosh them.) Crickets, beetles, etc., I usually try to put back outside.

    Now, the funny thing is, I looked up jerusalem crickets one time online, and came across a site that listed all of the bugs that people think are bad, but really aren’t. They talked about a bug named a “house centipede” that is fairly common all across the US, that is effectively evil-looking, but harmless. Hah!! Come to New Mexico, and see some REAL centipedes! These bad boys can bite with poison, and if you squish them while they are biting you, you will probably have to see a doctor to have them removed.

  4. old_dawg says:

    I wonder if the women ever heard of the admonition that she should wash fruit before eating it.

  5. Guy says:

    Definitely smash first and ask questions later…. No offense intended; but, spiders rank just slightly below lawyers and used car salesman on my list of things to avoid.

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