That said, I'm talking about your average little spider here. I suspect that if I had been in my kitchen and found a black widow while washing some grapes that I had purchased at Costco, as a Seattle woman recently did, I might not talk so tough.
Yep, one Nancy Pitts was washing red grapes when she spotted the infamous spider. She managed to catch it and then decided to look online and try to determine what kind of arachnid she had. That's when she learned she had the black widow, well known for its deadly bite. And as it turns out, this isn't all that uncommon. In Hawaii, Julie Klaz, a scuba diver instructor in Kealakehe, Kona, was washing grapes from a Costco, when she discovered a two-inch black widow scurrying about.
She promptly screamed and grabbed a bottle of Windex and doused it. That did minimal damage, and so she got bug spray, which killed off the offending bug.
But before you trash Costco for allowing spiders in their fruit, to their credit, their grapes are presumably organic and natural; if they were dripping in pesticides, one would think dead black widow spiders would be among the grapes instead of live ones. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that Klaz called the Department of Agriculture, and that someone there told her that they can't inspect every bunch of grapes, which seems logical. Black widow spiders are also very common in California, where the grapes -- at least the ones purchased in Washington and Hawaii -- were originally grown.
And lest I scare anyone, nobody has died from a black widow spider since the 1960s. As Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids at the Burke Museum in Seattle told a local news station, black spiders are "not exactly public enemy number one."
Not that you want to be too relaxed around the black widow spider. Were you to be bitten, and if the venom did its work on you, you'd probably experience some harrowing symptoms: stomach pain, general weakness, maybe some tremors. Eventually you'd experience nausea, you'd vomit, maybe you'd get dizzy, faint, and you'd start to have trouble breathing. Fun.
At any rate, we've been warned for years that we should wash fruit that we buy from the grocery store. You know, there might be dirt on those apples or grapes. Maybe some dust. Or maybe, just maybe, one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.