Have you heard about the invasive Joro spider making its way across the United States? If not, it’s time to get acquainted with this colorful, eight-legged traveler from Asia. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the Joro spider, its origins, and its potential impact on homeowners and ecosystems.
- Joro spiders arrived in the US, specifically Georgia, around 2014 through international trade and shipments. They have been gradually expanding their territory.
- Characteristics of Joro spiders include their bright colors, large size, preference for habitats with tall plants or structures, and diet of flying insects.
- Joro spiders are not dangerous to humans, as they are non-venomous. Their bite is rare and comparable to a bee sting in terms of pain and severity.
How Did the Joro Spider Get Here?
The Joro spider, native to East Asia, is believed to have arrived in North America through international trade and shipments, possibly in shipping containers. It initially appeared in the US in Georgia, specifically northern Georgia, around 2014.
University of Georgia’s (UGA) researchers have closely monitored its spread. Since then, the Joro spider has been gradually expanding its territory.
This hardy, invasive species has been migrating across the Southeastern United States and has been spotted in states like South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
While the Joro spider has yet to reach the Midwest, specifically Ohio, its rapid expansion indicates that it might not be long before it makes its presence known. Homeowners in the Midwest should be prepared to encounter this colorful arachnid shortly.
The Joro spider (Trichonephila clavata) is a large, visually striking orb-weaver spider. Females are particularly eye-catching, with bright yellow, red, and blue markings on their abdomens and a leg span of up to 4 inches.
Conversely, males are smaller and more subdued in appearance, with a leg span of about 1 inch and a brownish color.
Joro spiders thrive in various environments, including gardens, parks, forests, and urban areas. They prefer locations with tall plants or structures that support their large, circular webs. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter and are often found in bushes, trees, or near buildings such as porches.
Diet and Behavior:
Regarding their diet, Joro spiders love feasting on flying insects like moths, butterflies, and small beetles trapped in their golden webs. Additionally, they go through several stages throughout their lifecycle, including egg, spiderling, juvenile, and adult, each with unique behaviors.
As tiny spiderlings, they use a “ballooning” technique to disperse. As adults, they focus on building impressive webs to catch their meals.
Mating, though, is a delicate process, with males carefully transferring sperm to females using unique structures called pedipalps. Typically, males have shorter lives as they sometimes become a snack for females during or after romantic encounters.
Is the Joro Spider Dangerous?
Despite their intimidating appearance, Joro spiders are not considered dangerous to humans. They are non-venomous, and their rare bite is comparable to a bee sting in terms of pain and severity. While they may be a nuisance to some homeowners, they also play a beneficial role in controlling the population of various flying insects.
To prevent Joro spiders from becoming a problem around your home, you can take the following steps:
- Regularly trim vegetation: Keep trees, bushes, and other plants well-trimmed to reduce potential web-building sites.
- Remove webs: Remove a Joro’s web near your home using a long-handled broom or a similar tool. This will discourage the spider from rebuilding in the same location.
- Limit outdoor lighting: Since Joro spiders prey on flying insects attracted to light, minimizing outdoor lighting can help reduce the number of insects around your home and, consequently, the likelihood of Joro spiders setting up residence nearby.
- Pest control: If you’re experiencing a significant Joro spider infestation, consider contacting a professional pest control company for assistance in managing the problem.
Questions Others Are Asking
What animals eat Joro spiders?
Predators of Joro spiders include birds, lizards, and other larger spiders. These animals help maintain a balance in the ecosystem by keeping the Joro spider population in check.
Do Joro spiders eat hummingbirds?
Joro spiders primarily feed on flying insects such as moths, butterflies, and small beetles. While it is not common for them to prey on hummingbirds, it is not entirely impossible for a Joro spider to catch a small bird in its web, especially if it is weakened or injured.
Can cats eat Joro spiders?
Cats may be curious about Joro spiders and may try to catch or eat them. While Joro spiders are not venomous, it is best to discourage your cat from consuming them to avoid any potential gastrointestinal issues or the risk of an allergic reaction to the spider’s bite.