What you need to know about the giant, ‘flying’ spiders spreading across the eastern US

  • Get ready for flying spiders the size of your palm. They could be coming to your neighborhood soon.

  • Joro spiders are spreading rapidly throughout the southeastern US, and are now moving north.

  • Although poisonous, Joro spiders do not harm humans and prefer to stay outside.

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares: venomous monster spiders floating through the air and invading the northeastern US this summer.

But some experts say invasive fruit flies can do more damage than the colorful Joro spider, AP News reported.

It’s easy to understand why the spider is scary, though.

They can measure up to 3 inches with their legs spread, about the size of your palm and much larger than a quarter-inch house spider.

Giant spiders migrating to the Northeastern US

Sugarloaf Mountain from the scenic view at the Top of the 80's restaurant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Scientists say Joro spiders are adapted to colder climates like Pennsylvania and New Jersey.Cheri Sundra – Guerrilla Historian / Getty Images

Originally from Asia, they have been moving rapidly across the southeastern US since they first appeared in Georgia around 2010, according to a study published last year in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

And the invasive species is heading north, according to the study’s authors. Once they arrive, people are likely to see their web — a distinctive golden color — in trees or on their porches, according to UGA Today.

“This spider will be able to live in most of the eastern US,” David Coyle, a professor at Clemson University who worked on the research, told Clemson News in 2023 adding that “its comfort zone in its native range matching much of North America.”

They don’t seem to be affected by colder temperatures. The black-and-yellow spiders live just fine in northern Honshu, Japan, where winter temperatures can reach between 25 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Penn State Extension.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect that the range of these things will continue to expand, probably northward, and we’ve already seen that with some populations in Maryland,” Coyle added.

Experts from NJ Pest Control are predicting that the spiders could arrive in New Jersey and New York this year, possibly as early as this summer.

“It’s not an if, it’s an issue,” Russell Sieb, entomologist and owner of NJ Pest Control told Business Insider.

“They will be going to the northeast at some point, and we think they will be here sometime this year,” he said, adding that they have already been seen in Baltimore.

A shy spider that prefers the outdoors

A yellow, black and red Joro spider in a webA yellow, black and red Joro spider in a web

Although Joro spiders are invasive, their full impact on US ecosystems is still unknown.Alex Sanz/AP Photo

Although the giant creatures are venomous, they are not dangerous for people beyond what may cause a red swollen bite, Sieb said BI. And they don’t want to get rid of you, anyway.

“They don’t want to bite things they can’t eat if they can help it,” Jonathan Larson, a University of Kentucky entomologist, said in 2022.

They’re no threat to pets either, and researchers have found they may be the “shyest” spiders ever documented.

Besides their size, there is another characteristic of Joro spiders that makes them a little creepy: They can fly. Well, kind of.

Joro spiders ‘fly’

Joro spider in his webJoro spider in his web

Joro spiders can travel long distances using their silk as wind sails. It’s like flying.Jean-Philippe Tournut/Getty Images

Orb-weaving spiders do not have wings, but can travel by “ballooning,” a technique in which they release a silk thread that allows the wind to carry them. Sieb said they can travel about 3 miles using this method.

Fortunately, however, Joro spiders usually do not want to enter homes – they are outdoor pests that usually choose to form webs in open spaces such as parks, ball fields or suburban properties, although they may also look for woods. the doors of the buildings, said Sieb.

And, even though the species is invasive, you probably won’t be fighting off the bazillions of them left and right.

“It’s not going to be like any Alfred Hitchcock movie or anything like that with them all over the place,” Sieb said.

Although they live close together, Joro spiders don’t seem to interact much with other individuals, according to the UGA Cooperative Extension.

“This is a predator,” Sieb told BI. “So there will be transportation capacity in the area. So you might have two on a property, or not even two.”

How these spiders will affect the ecosystems they invade is still an open question. Joro spiders love to eat another invasive species, lantern flies. However, the spiders are unlikely to help eradicate the plant-eating pest, according to AP News.

“A lot of people think that this spider is destroying the ecosystem, and we don’t think so yet, at least,” Andy Davis, an assistant research scientist at the University of Georgia, told UGA News.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *