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Dawson County Extension office: Your friendly neighborhood Joro Spider
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A juvenile Joro spider on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

By Justin Loedding, Dawson County Extension Office Summer Intern

It’s official, the Joro spider is here to stay in North Georgia, and there is not much that we can do about them. The relatively large invasive spider species is easily noticeable by its bright yellow and blue-black stripes across its back and legs. They originally came to Georgia several years ago from China or Japan and have quickly spread throughout a large portion of the East coast. Research has shown that they are very similar to the “golden silk spiders” and “banana spiders”, which are relatives in the orb-weaving family, and have been long adapted to the Southeast United States. Joro spiders will be very prevalent over the coming months, but they have not been found to pose any real threat to humans.

These arachnids can stretch up to four inches in length at full size. They create large, gold-tinted webs in trees, powerlines, and even around houses. One of the biggest noticeable differences between the Joro and other similar species is that they create larger, three-dimensional webs, as opposed to traditional two-dimensional web structures. As with most spider species, they use these webs to catch and immobilize prey. The Joro species is special in that they have been found to capture and eat brown stink bugs, which are known to infest houses and damage crops. Very few other species of spider local to the region have the ability to capture these pestilent bugs.

Studies have found Joro spiders to have nearly double the metabolism and a 77% higher heart rate than its orb-weaving relatives, which means they are better adapted to survive in colder climates. This means that they have the ability to spread to larger geographical regions and could potentially survive throughout a majority of the United States’ Eastern Seaboard. Do not be surprised if these insects start to move further North into areas with shorter growing seasons.

Although their population is constantly growing, there has been no evidence of any ecological threats posed to local species or humans. Some reports have been made of hummingbirds being caught in Joro webs, but they are usually strong enough to escape the web shortly after capture. As with most orb-weaving spiders, it is rare to be bitten by a Joro spider and their fangs are usually not large enough to break through human skin. They prefer to flee when given the chance, but it is not recommended to test the bite out for yourself.

As we get later into the summer and fall seasons, you will begin to see this colorful spider show up all around the place. They will be on your trees, in your gardens, and around your houses. There is no solution to prevent them from setting up shop on your property, and any efforts to remove them will most likely be met with another web a few days later. Although they could become quite the nuisance over the next few months, they are harmless to pets and humans. If a web is in your way it is safe to remove if, but there is generally no reason to go around exterminating everyone you see, as they will just come back again later.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Joro spider do not hesitate to contact your county Extension office for information at (706) 265-2442.