The 2020s clearly have not had enough fun, as the latest scourge on humanity appears to be an invasion of giant parachuting Joro spiders along the East Coast. This includes us in North Carolina. Yay…
Yes, you heard us correctly: Pandemics, wars, gas prices, and a host of other problems weren’t enough. Now, mother nature is having a little fun with 3-inch long Joro spiders. Our “friends” (we’re beginning to wonder if that’s true anymore) at the University of Georgia let us in on the horrifying news of a likely invasion that it’s too late for us to really do anything about.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” Andy Davis, a researcher with the University of Georgia said. “If they’re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side, but they’re just going to be back next year.”
The Joro spider is unique in that it creates massive silk webs that get picked up by the wind and serve as parachutes that fly them long distances. So why is it we are preparing for our new bright yellow, blue-black, and red spider overlords? UGA scientists say the critters have been all over since at least 2013, but that they expect a spread to the full Eastern Seaboard before long – probably as soon as this summer.
Researchers say that the Joro, which come from Japan and are related to the golden silk spider, has a really, really high metabolism and is much stronger than their cousins. That means they can survive colder temperatures and brief freezes. That means we’re likely to see them all along our area before too long.
“Just by looking at that, it looks like the Joros could probably survive throughout most of the Eastern Seaboard here, which is pretty sobering,” Davis said.
The good news is our new overlords appear to be pretty friendly. Maybe. While scary (very, very scary), UGA says there is no reason to panic. They apparently won’t bite unless they are cornered and their fangs are USUALLY too small to break human skin.
“There’s really no reason to go around actively squishing them,” Benjamin Frick, a co-author of the study, said. “Humans are at the root of their invasion. Don’t blame the Joro spider.” We agree with Frick. No reason to squish the Joro spiders. Just welcome our new leaders and hope they have a good handle on foreign policy and pandemics. You can see some photos of the Joro Spider below.