Michigan Woman Finds Black Widow Spider Inside Package of Grapes

She "freaked out" after finding this potentially deadly creature in the package.

September 08, 2015, 11:54 AM

— -- A woman says she made a potentially deadly discovery inside a package of grapes she bought from a Walmart Supercenter in Troy, Michigan: a black widow spider.

Ariel Jackson, 25, bought the grapes for a barbecue party at her sister's house this past Sunday, her boyfriend, Michael Frank, told ABC News. When Jackson started washing the grapes in the perforated container, she noticed a black widow spider crawling inside the package and "freaked out," he said.

"She was screaming about a huge spider, and everyone was like, 'Calm down, it's probably nothing,'" Frank, 26, said. "But we took a closer look and lo-and-behold, it's a black widow. It had the red hourglass-shaped spot on its belly."

Frank said Jackson tried to call the local fire department and animal shelter to get advice on "how to dispose of it," but since both departments were closed, she resorted to 911.

"When I called them, I said, 'This isn’t really an emergency, but I have a black widow spider,'" Jackson told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit. "And he’s like, 'Just kill it,’ and I’m like, 'Me? You want me to kill it?’"

Frank said he took photos and video of the spider before he and Jackson's brother sprayed it with an insect killer. It eventually died after "quite a few sprays," he said.

"It was definitely frightening," Frank said. "My girlfriend is still definitely shaken up. The smallest little things freak her out now. I mean, it's not every day you see a black widow spider."

He added that Jackson's 1-year-old nephew was in the house at the time they were washing the grapes, and they're glad no one got hurt.

PHOTO: Ariel Jackson of Troy, Mich. says that she found a black widow spider in a package of grapes that she purchased from a Walmart Supercenter.
Ariel Jackson of Troy, Mich. says that she found a black widow spider in a package of grapes that she purchased from a Walmart Supercenter.
Mike Frank

The black widow's venom is a "neurotoxin that produces pain at the bite area and then spreads to the chest, abdomen, or the entire body," according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC added that though death is a possibility in "severe cases," more common symptoms include itching or a rash, pain at the site of the bite, a reddish or purplish blister, muscle pain or cramping, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, anxiety and high blood pressure,

Frank said he and Jackson also called the Walmart Supercenter to tell them about the spider, and he claimed that an employee from the store asked them to bring in the grape package with the spider inside along with a receipt to get refunded.

He said they didn't want to bring in the package with the spider inside, so they just let it go, though they'd "still really appreciate an apology from Walmart."

Walmart told ABC News in a statement, "Our stores have procedures in place to help ensure products meet our high expectations for fresh, quality food. We take food safety seriously and encourage customers to work with store management so that appropriate measures can be taken to fully understand what may have happened."

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