Last year, people were worried about “murder hornets,” a strain of insects who invaded America from Asia and whose stingers were likened to hot metal. Now, as per CBS News, there’s a less dangerous breed afoot in America, and they’re taking over Georgia with such multiplicity that some are comparing it to one of the ’90s’ best horror films, Arachnophobia, in which a deadly species of spiders from Venezuela invades small town California.
But these ones aren’t deadly. They’re called Joro spiders. They hail from East Asia and they’re large, colorful, and very good at webs. They’re part of a group of spiders called “orb weavers,” so named for their organized, wheel-shaped webs. (The ones Joro spiders weave are thick and golden.)
Joro spiders were first reported in America in 2014, but now they’re everywhere in the Southern state, and it’s believed they’ll soon spread southward, to South Carolina. It’s believed they enjoy the warmth and humidity in the state, which is similar to parts of Japan.
“Last year, there were dozens of spiders, and they began to be something of a nuisance when I was doing yard work,” one person, whose porch has been taken over by Joro webs 10 feet deep, told CBS. “This year, I have several hundred, and they actually make the place look spooky with all the messy webs — like a scene out of Arachnophobia.”
That said, Joro spiders are reportedly not dangerous. They only bite if attacked first, and one researcher who handled them without gloves said she received an occasional pinch but that they never broke her skin.
That said, it’s not clear yet what effect Joro spiders will have on the state’s environment and ecosystem, and there remain many unknowns. But they may prove to be a blessing. One entomologist said they suppress mosquitos and biting flies. They’re also one of the few spiders that will eat brown marmorated stink bugs, which have long been pests to crops.
“This is wonderful. This is exciting. Spiders are our friends,” the entomologist said. “They are out there catching all the pests we don’t want around our home.”
That said, maybe it’s not the best idea to let one’s guard down around world-dominating spiders.
(Via CBS News)