Life on the land in Australia

Redback spiders found in Australian grapes by several people

Five people have found redback spiders in bags of Australian grown grapes in recent weeks.

Five people have found redback spiders in bags of Australian grown grapes in recent weeks. Photo: Letitia Rowlands

Nevermind checking the toilet seat, it seems deadly redback spiders are making their homes in bags of grapes from the local supermarket.

A mother in Sydney’s north is one of five people to find redback spiders in a bag of Australian grown grapes over the past two weeks.

The Thornleigh woman found a spider in a bag of Thompson Seedless grapes she bought at Woolworths on Thursday.

The concerning discovery came after redbacks were found in two separate bags of grapes on the Gold Coast.


A woman in New Zealand found a reback spider in a bag of grapes imported from Australia and bought at Woolworth’s owned supermarket chain Countdown.

Meanwhile a Rockhampton woman was eating grapes which she bought from her local Coles on Monday when she discovered a redback spider at the bottom of the bag.

Morgan Davey told the Morning Bulletin newspaper the spider was in the bottom of the bag as she ate grapes at work, despite the fact she had filled the bag with water to wash the grapes the night before.

“He had his little home at the bottom… I don’t know how he didn’t drown when I washed the bag,” she told the newspaper.

Mike O’Neill told the Gold Coast Bulletin he found two redbacks in a bag of grapes he bought at the Australia Fair Woolworths at Southport on Tuesday.

“There was a redback spider crawling on my hand,” Mr O’Neill told the the newspaper.

“I flicked it off – it was a bit comical because I’m absolutely terrified of spiders.”

Auckland woman Debbie Bellingham was about to feed the grapes to her three-year-old daughter when she discovered the grapes.

“My daughter came down to me and goes, ‘Mummy, there’s a funny looking spider in the grapes, it’s black and sort of orangey-red,'” Ms Bellingham told the New Zealand Herald.

In the wake of the discoveries, a grape supplier told Daily Mail Australia redbacks are difficult to eradicate from grapevines because they are capable of holding their breath for many hours.

“The redbacks live on the timber, the wood of the vine,” the man, who did not wish to be named, told Daily Mail.

“Growers do take every precaution to make sure they’re limited by a spraying insecticide, but the unfortunate thing with redbacks is they have the ability to hold their breath for 10 hours.

“When they know the insecticide is being sprayed they hold their breath making the insecticide useless.”

The man told the Daily Mail the only way to definitively kill the redbacks is to keep the grapes at freezing temperatures for 24 hours.

“Every precaution is taken it’s just virtually impossible to eliminate 100 per cent,” he said.

However Australian Grape Association’s chief executive Jeff Scott described the finds as “disappointing and unexpected” and said it was not normal for redbacks to be found amongst grapes.

“That shouldn’t happen,” Mr Scott told the Daily Mail.

Both Coles and Woolworths have said they will be following up the incidents with their grape suppliers.

“We are looking into these incidents and will be in touch with our supplier to ensure they are following the correct quality processes,” a Woolworths spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

“We source our grapes from a number of suppliers.”


Henry Sapiecha

March 10th, 2015
Topic: Grape vines, spiders snakes scorpions, SUPERMARKETS Tags: None

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