You would be surprised how many non-native spider and insect species land on our shores from other far away countries. They usually enter through shipping containers bringing in produce and other items from foreign countries, then will hop on a truck or a car and spread from there. These non-native species can travel pretty far this way, ending up in states that have never seen or heard of these critters, and freaking people out while they settle in for good. One little spider that did this and made its way to the great state of Georgia is the Joro spider, which is originally from Asia. People first began spotting the joro spider in Cobert, Georgia in 2014. Since their arrival they have steadily spread throughout the state and are a common sight now in northeast Georgia.
The Joro spider is a striking sight, with its bold pattern of black, yellow and red stripes. It is easy to spot, growing up to four inches in length, a respectable size that makes the boldly colored pattern covering its body stand out amidst the scenery. The Joro spider is known for its golden orb-shaped webs, a fitting home for such a bright spider. You can probably imagine that when people in Georgia first began to spot this little critter. They can appear rather startling at first glance, which helped them get noticed quickly by people living in the state, but pose very little threat to humans or, it seems, the Georgia ecosystem. Many calls came in to officials about this little spider when it first arrived, with people often “freaking out” when they first spotted them. These spiders are quite timid, however, and prefer to run away from the person startling them rather than confront them. While they do have a neurotoxin venom, it is not very potent, only causing some minor redness and blistering.
What appears to be the icing on the cake for the arrival of this entrancing little web spinner, is that it seems the spiders are actually helping the ecosystem in Georgia, as well as the people. These spiders catch a lot of stinkbugs, which can become a major pain at certain times of the year. After the arrival of the Joro spider, the calls about stinkbug infestations that used to come in droves, especially around fall, have all but stopped. So, you might want to thank this little foreign exchange spider for taking care of those smelly pests now that it lives in Georgia.
Have you ever spotted a Joro spider? Did it startle you at first? Did you notice less stinkbugs coming around you house after it arrived?