Native to coastal, eastern Asia, the Joro spiders (or Trichonephila clavata) have made their way over to the United States and found themselves a place to call home in Georgia.
If you live in the Atlanta area, you’ve probably seen the Joro spider; you might even have them in your backyard! The Joro spiders are hard to miss. They can grow to be about 2 to 3 inches wide or the size of the palm of a hand. They have black and yellow stripes on their body and legs with red highlights. They are really a beautiful sight with their amazing colors! This species weave large, intricate, golden-silk webs. Golden webs that make your home look like a Halloween masterpiece! …but not so cool in the middle of the summer when these pests are most active.
The Joro spider was originally found in Japan, Thailand, Korea, and China but, they have recently made their way to the United States. They like it a lot here as the weather reminds them of home.
While we don’t know exactly how they got here from their native lands, we do know their two main ways of transportation: hitchhiking and what scientists call this ballooning. Yes, like everyone in the sixties and seventies, these spiders like to hitchhike! They hop in cars, luggage, and shipping containers to get around. They are experienced “paragliders” as Joro spiders are often seen ballooning to get around. It is very effective as they can fly hundreds of miles (Surprised? Check out this university study by MIT) They release some of their silk into the air and it catches the breeze and off the spiders go wherever the wind may blow!
So… Are they really falling from the sky?
Well yes, in a way. While this “falling from the sky” bit sounds great for spreading horror film thrills, it is slightly over-exaggerated. Many spiders “balloon” or “fall from the sky”.
You’re probably wondering… Are Joro spiders dangerous to me and my family? These spiders are not harmful to humans or pets. FAKE NEWS ALERT: Those that say they are venomous are spreading bad info. Like many spiders, they lack the fangs to pierce the skin on the human body. Despite not being dangerous, they are a very invasive nuisance and they will take over your yard if you let them. Don’t let them!
In short; George, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Currently, the spiders are primarily found in northern Georgia in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The arachnid has spread just beyond the borders of southern Tennessee and western South Carolina. This invasive spider species has not spread in the United States as far or as quickly as many feared it would.
It seems like the Joro spiders are here to stay but, there are ways to get rid of them! You can kill them with a shoe, or take their webs down with a broom however, this is tedious and time-consuming.
Here are some other resources to check out!