Eeek! Call KDKA!

A family in Mercer County says they found a spider in a bag of grapes.

Vikki Spencer and her daughter Amanda Masotto, from Sharpsville, believe it was a black widow spider. The arachnid appeared to have the distinctive red hour glass shape on it.

They bought the grapes from a Giant Eagle in Hermitage.

Amanda was washing the grapes when she thought she saw a tomato stem in the bag.

“And I went in to reach in to grab the tomato stem because I didn’t think it should be there obviously and then it moved,” she said. “So that’s when I threw the bag down and I said, ‘Mom, there’s a spider in the bag.’ ”

Amanda was not bitten.


1.  Grapes are from nature.  Spiders live in nature.  A spider could conceivably be hanging out in some grapes.  Why is this news?  It’s not like they found a black widow spider hanging out in a freshly opened package of bikini underwear or anything.  Now THAT’S news.

2.  Who called KDKA about this?  “Yeah, KDKA, I just wanted to let you know that … are you sitting down, KDKA?  Okay.  I found a spider in my grapes.  When can you come by with the camera crew?  Will Ken Rice be there?”

3.  The only way I’m calling KDKA about a spider found running amok through my grapes is if that spider is a tarantula.  A dancing tarantula.  That appears to have a picture of a weeping Mary etched in his fur.


  1. Christina
    July 1, 2008 10:46 am

    I have to say, I did NOT appreciate the close-ups of the dead spider carcass on the television this morning.

    This seems like kind of story for which Dave Crowley might do a little charming rhyme that would make all the little old ladies chuckle over their pinochle games and me puke all over the television.

  2. unsatisfied
    July 1, 2008 10:53 am

    I’d like to thank these two fine women for bringing this pending national crisis to the viewing public — as well as thanks to kdka for telling this important story. I just thank God that no one was injured.

    I think that the offending GE should be immediately burned the ground so that we can all go and make smores over the burning ashes. in addition, I think that vicki and amanda should be given keys to the city by the mayor of hermitage.

    thanks again, vicki and amanda — you are true patriots!

  3. Muddypelican
    July 1, 2008 11:06 am

    I have spiders in my garage!! Ima gonna get on the NEWS!

  4. bucdaddy
    July 1, 2008 11:09 am

    Seems simple. They call KD because they know KD, with an hour and a half to fill and maybe five minutes of real news to fill it with, will run it.

    Also, you call if you’re an attention whore. And let’s face it, TV and attention whores were made for each other.

    Me, I’d take the spider to the store and try to barter some free produce out of keeping my mouth shut and NOT calling KD.

    Yeah, I’m cheap. Attention whores have their priorities, I have mine.

  5. Sofa King
    July 1, 2008 11:21 am

    You think that’s disturbing, try finding a grape in your bag of spiders.

  6. Becky
    July 1, 2008 11:26 am

    Why aren’t they washing these grapes before they eat them?

  7. SeanCollier
    July 1, 2008 12:01 pm

    Hey – I don’t know if I’m just stating the obvious, but I think they called because that particular spider is, in fact, extremely dangerous, with venom 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake. They’re capable of instantly giving a fatal dose to children, and seriously ruining the day (and/or life) of healthy adults, too. This is no daddy longlegs.

  8. Bulldog
    July 1, 2008 12:14 pm

    I don’t know, I’m kinda with Sean on this one. I don’t have a problem with the local news telling us that we may want to pay a little closer attention before we reach blindly into a bag of grapes to pull them out, and wash them off before we eat them. Especially if a very poisonous spider that’s possibly capable of killing a child might be lurking in there.

    I don’t really have a problem with knowing that.

  9. ultraviolet
    July 1, 2008 12:27 pm

    @becky: the article said they were washing them.

    this is gross & somewhat terrifying (if it is a black widow) but news-worthy? no way.

    tell this story to someone in texas, or australia (both filled with icky big spiders) and they would probably respond with, “oh yea, think thats bad, this one time…”

  10. Muddypelican
    July 1, 2008 12:31 pm

    This is just as newsworthy as Matt Lauer giving us the great breaking news story of What to watch for when digging in the sand!@!! How did the human race ever survive? This crap drives me nuts.

  11. lovesthenorthside
    July 1, 2008 12:50 pm

    many years ago, one of my sons found a fake fingernail in his cream cheesed brueggers bagel. this is me doing the “i could have had a v-8” move: why o why didn’t i call kdka? (i did get some free bagels, but declined the cream cheese.)

  12. Name Withheld
    July 1, 2008 12:58 pm

    I work in the produce department in one of those uber-awesome Wegmans grocery stores.

    Spiders (and other bugs) in the produce is something that is going to happen and is near impossible to stop. When someone like celery or lettuce or bananas are picked fresh, then packaged immediately, it will happen.

    Usually the bugs die or are frozen into a state of suspended animation if they’re in a product that has to spend any time at all in the cooler.

    Bananas are a different story all together, tropical spiders, tropical temperatures. But don’t worry, we always find them and capture them as we’re stocking the shelves.

  13. Sparky
    July 1, 2008 1:14 pm

    I had slugs in my cabbage once. I was making halupki like the good hunkie bitch that I am and found those suckers floating in the boiling water around my cabbage.

  14. Sean
    July 1, 2008 1:23 pm

    I know this isn’t exactly the point, but if I saw what I thought was a stem in a bag of grapes, I probably would probably think it was a grape stem; not a tomato stem.

  15. Geeo
    July 1, 2008 1:40 pm

    You mean KDKA didn’t send ace investigator Marty Griffin out to Mercer County to get right on this as “breaking news?” He would hound the spider until it killed itself, like he did with the subject of another one of his great “invetstigations.”

    TV “news” stopped covering real news years ago and goes for the easy stuff like this so people will watch and they can sell ads. They’re not real journalists, they just play them on TV.

  16. retiredguy
    July 1, 2008 2:00 pm

    If that was a Black Widow, then you are talking about serious, long term pain from just one little bite. If it’s just Joe Shit the ragman spider, who cares?

    The worst that ever happened to my grapes was the bagger at Giant Eagle sneezing (very wetly) on them. I told the cashier to take them off, I didn’t want them anymore.

  17. John Davies
    July 1, 2008 2:13 pm

    Eat local food and you’ll only get our local bugs.

  18. ultraviolet
    July 1, 2008 3:24 pm

    yes john words of wisdom!
    plants = bugs. gross, but its what happens.
    we offered our neighbor some collard greens from our garden and she hesitated, saying, don’t they have bugs on them? my bf responded, well they are plants and most plants have bugs but i think i got them all off.
    this same woman’s children bombard us each day with demands for fresh fruit, i guess due to the lack at home. we happily oblige, cause they are cute.
    it is sad that processed, packaged foods so abudant in supermarkets have cause people to be relucant to eat fresh produce due to the possibility of insects, despite the fact that its almost impossible to guess what was ground up in the processing plant :)

  19. Steeler_tom
    July 1, 2008 5:58 pm

    The black widow myths being posted here are nutz!
    Yes the venom is pretty strong
    No it won’t kill a human, (might make you a bit like the flu, but it passes after a day ir two) because there is so little of it in the spider. Geeze, I live with the GD things, and I’ve seen some big enough to saddle up and ride. Yes they are a pest but the brown recluse is waaaaaaaay more dangerous and it LIVES in Pennsylvania!

    Now I just absolutly HATE spiders worse -n- PittGirl hates pigeons. But here’s the question you really want answered:

    Just where has it been? And did it lay eggs?

    Momma don’t hafta be around for them to hatch….

  20. Casey
    July 1, 2008 10:51 pm

    I am not a ‘spider expert’ but that is definitely not a Black Widow.

  21. JamieO
    July 2, 2008 11:59 am

    lol, ultraviolet. That sort of thinking amuses me. You can, you know, actually wash the produce to get any bugs off.

    PittGirl, that whole spider in the bikini underwear thing has urban legend written all over it.

    “My cousin bought bikini panties dahn at the Century III Wal-Mart, it had brahn reclusive spiders innit.”

    “Get aht? Really? Did she get bit dahn there?”

    “You mean ‘him’.”

  22. Amanda Masotto
    July 2, 2008 1:52 pm

    Ok so I am the one who found the spider in my grapes. I find kind of offending for all of you people who sit here and say that it is not a big deal. I understand a spider is a spider and if it was a regular old house spider it would not have gotten this much publicity. Also for those of you who have smart comments that just shows how much condern you have for others. This was not a publicity stunt for us. In fact the reason we were on KDKA is because they showed up to our house unexpectedly. We never would have done anything like this if it wasn’t fot my grandmother calling the local newspaper. All of the TV stations called us from there. So for those of you who think that we were trying to get our 15 minutes of fame you’re dead wrong. We didn’t want the TV crews at our house. So thank you for showing the rest of us how much you really think before you write something. Anymore questions can be forwarded to me. And to those who are being supportive and understanding why my mother and I spoke out Thank you.
    Amanda Masotto

    Oh and by the way to this Casey who says they are definitely not a spider expert. It DEFINITELY is a Black Widow. I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any other spiders with a red hourglass on the belly.

  23. unsatisfied
    July 2, 2008 2:40 pm

    amanda — I am sure that you and your family are good people.

    but, if you didn’t want attention from the local press, then don’t call the local newspaper. and, if you didn’t want the tv news crews at your house, then refuse to speak with them.

    problem solved.

    quite frankly, though, I don’t blame you and your family as much as I do the press on this. this is typical newsroom behavior, so what else should I expect? (can’t ken rice and sonni save us????)

  24. spoon
    July 2, 2008 2:41 pm

    I heard Dee Thompson wears a black tie a with a solid red hour glass in the middle and also like grapes.

    just throwin that out there…

  25. medgirl
    July 22, 2008 10:53 pm

    at least the spider wasn’t driving a truck through a tent or beating up his new bride!