It is not necessarily uncommon for grocery store employees to find spiders within boxes of produce that were shipped from exotic locations. In some cases, the spiders found in this manner are highly venomous and pose a serious threat to the health of store employees. It is far more common for dock workers to encounter non-native and dangerous spiders while unloading produce shipments from trade vessels. Considering that spiders are abundant in areas of South America where agricultural products are sourced, it should not be surprising to learn that some spider species are found repeatedly within produce shipments arriving in America and Europe. Unfortunately, many spider species that are commonly found within produce shipments are highly venomous.
The group of spiders commonly referred to as “armed spiders” are frequently found within shipments of fruit, particularly bananas. It is for this reason that residents of agrarian towns in South America refer to armed spiders as “banana bunch spiders”. These spiders inflict bites that cause tremendous pain to their victims. One study found that 96 percent of all armed spider bites caused intense pain. The venom produced by these spiders has been known to cause respiratory failure and death in people of all ages.
It is also not uncommon to find Brazilian wandering spiders, black widow spiders and huntsman spiders infesting produce shipped from South America. Back in 2009, an employee at Whole Foods discovered a huntsman spider feeding on bananas within a box that had recently arrived to the store. In 2013, a black widow spider was found in a box of grapes within an Aldi store, and that same year, a British family was instructed by health authorities to leave their home immediately after a Brazilian wandering spider was found inside of a banana that had been purchased at a local supermarket. Although finding a giant hairy spider within a produce shipment can be alarming to say the least, a University of California archeologist, Richard Vetter, insists that most of the spider species found within produce shipments are harmless to humans.
Have you ever found a spider within a grocery store?