Are there Black Widow spiders in Michigan? Creature Control gets this inquiry a lot. The Black Widow (technically the Northern Black Widow, Latrodectus variolus) was not originally native to Michigan, but more and more they are turning up in the southern Lower Peninsula, as a Brighton, Michigan family discovered in a case of not sour but scary grapes. A Black Widow spider was found lurking in a bunch of grapes that came in the typical plastic wrapping. WXYZ Detroit reported that the Brighton woman, a Mrs. Mary, had purchased the grapes from the Brighton Kroger store and was more than shocked by the discovery. The family took photographs of the spider while it was still alive. The venomous spider and its signature red hourglass mark were actually recognized by one of Mary’s children. Kroger has since released a statement saying it was extremely grateful no one was harmed in the incident and it works extensively with its growers to ensure that inspection process points are in place and they’re providing safe and quality food.
These days, we do not always know how our produce gets into Michigan and from whence it comes. Please be careful when handling produce, especially if it is in crates or other containers. As Mrs. Mary found out, they can contain potentially deadly hitchhikers. There are not many poisonous spiders in Michigan, but more are coming in from abroad, and we need to be vigilant. Train your kids to look for the tell-tale hour-glass marking, which usually identifies the Black Widow.