The colorful Joro spider is on the move and in the news. This world-traveling invasive is definitely settled in Georgia, likely after it hitchhiked on a cargo ship from Asia. Now it has its eyes on a more tropical home to the south.
“In their native range, in east Asia and Japan, they do go pretty far south in some tropical climates,” Andy Davis said.
At the University of Georgia, Davis has studied the Joro and believes that while it’s been in Georgia for nine years now, it may likely expand its range north, and south, including Florida as soon as this spring.
Take heart, Floridians, these are not killer spiders. In fact, the scientist says they are wimpy.
“They’re more likely to run away than attack anybody. And even if they wanted to, their fangs are so short, they likely couldn’t do any damage,” Davis said.
The Joro looks very much like a Banana spider which is also a no-risk creature unless you clumsily walk into its web.
“You can have three or four webs, all meshed together which makes a big super web, so that can be kind of a nuisance to homeowners,” Davis said. And how could you miss webs that size?
How Joro Spiders Travel
Joros are known to parachute. Not literally, but baby spiders send out a thin web into the air and they’re carried off by the wind. While ‘ballooning,’ they can catch onto an air current and travel far distances Because of the small size of spiderlings, chances are you would not notice them in the air.
Of course, they also use other modes of transportation popular with pests: hitchhiking onto vehicles and shipping containers.
More about the Joro spider
The Joro — Trichonephila clavata — is part of a group of spiders known as orb weavers for their highly organized, wheel-shaped webs. Joro females have colorful yellow, blue, and red markings on their bodies and can measure three inches across when their legs are fully extended.
It has about double the metabolism, a 77% higher heart rate and can survive a brief freeze that kills off its relatives.
The Joro appears better suited to colder temperatures than other similar species.
Their impact on native species and the environment is also not clear, though some researchers believe they are benign.
Legs that extend up to 4 inches
Blue-gray and yellow color
Red markings on the abdomen
What makes Joro spiders unique is that new research shows they can complete their lifecycle in a shorter window and withstand cold weather.
Joro spiders are not considered a health threat to humans. All spiders are venomous, but the Joro spider is only dangerous to prey such as crickets and other small insects. A bite from this species is rare and would feel like a bee sting. At this time, there is no research indicating the Joro spider invasion will have any negative impact on any ecosystems.
While spiders are more of a helpful pest because they feed on insects in the home, it can still be unpleasant to come across one. To prevent spiders and any Joro spider infestations, experts recommend keeping firewood or other safe harbor areas away from the home. Removing webs can make areas near the home less hospitable to Joro spiders.
Need some help with spiders or other pest removals? You know who to call. Heath Pest Control will send a professional to you for a consultation. Just give us a call or request an appointment.
Credit: Associated Press