VANCOUVER, Wash. – Lee Bertheau’s late-night snack was much more dangerous than he thought.
“I went to the refrigerator, saw that we had a bag of grapes and those looked pretty good,” said Bertheau.
He washed the grapes, put them on a plate with an apple and took his snack upstairs.
“When I got upstairs, I looked at my apple and there was a black widow, well it was a black spider,” he said. “At the time I didn’t realize it was a black widow.”
When he got the spider into a jar and took a closer look, Bertheau noticed the spider’s red hourglass marking, which is an easily distinguishable feature of black widows.
"I also, later, looked inside the grapes and sure enough I could see a little bit of webbing inside the grapes.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture calls the black widow the most harmful spider species in the state, but says they are rare in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Bertheau called the store that he bought the grapes from. He got a refund and the store promised to contact the grower and tell them about the black widow discovery.
He said his experience is a good reminder for everyone to check fruits and vegetables before serving them.
“Keep your eye out for something like this, especially if it’s black stay away from it ‘cause it could be a black widow.”