The Montrealer had just finished washing a bag of grapes and was about to feed them to her toddler, when she noticed a black spider dangling from a stem of the fruit.
She looked closer, saw a red hourglass shape on the spider’s belly, and knew it was a black widow.
Blais screamed for her husband’s help.
“I was pretty freaked out with the spider. I knew it had come from the grapes, because it was on the stem of the grapes...So when I kind of panicked, we knew what kind of spider it was already,” said Blais.
Spider expert Chris Buddle agrees it was a black widow, and says these incidents are more common than one might think.
“We're in an era where pesticides use is constantly decreasing — which is a good thing — but one of the consequences is that we'll get things like spiders showing up alive in these places,” said Buddle, an associate professor at McGill University’s department of Natural Resource Sciences.
“I'm not at all surprised it was alive. We see spiders showing up in grocery stores quite often.”
Buddle says black widows rarely bite, and are not as dangerous as people may think — but they could pose a threat to some.
“They're generally not that harmful for most healthy people, [but] certainly for young children or for potentially someone whose [immune system] is compromised in some way, they could be a health issue.”
Blais, who was just about to feed her young son, says she’s upset and wants an apology from Super C — the grocery store where she bought the fruit.
“We had contacted them, and they basically offered to refund the price of the grapes but not to make a public warning or remove the grapes,” Blais said.
“I think they should be removed from the shelves, along with a public safety warning.”
CBC contacted Super C, but no one from the company returned our calls.