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giant venomous flying spider spotted in U.S. states

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Giant venomous flying spiders from Japan have made their way to the U.S. in recent years, and will likely infiltrate more states in 2024.

Originally spotted in Georgia a decade ago, the arachnids are expected to reach parts of the northeast as early as this year. What does that mean for Indiana? Here’s why Hoosiers don’t need to worry about the spiders quite yet.

What are Joro spiders? How big are they?

Joro spiders are large and brightly colored arachnids with a body span of up to 4 inches, according to The Pennsylvania State University. They have vibrant yellow and black coloration and are native to Asia.

Where are Joro spiders from?

Joro spiders are native to Asia, according to Penn State. They are commonly seen in countries like Japan, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, India and North and South Korea.

How venomous flying spiders invaded the U.S.

According to Penn State, Joro spiders were first seen in the U.S. in three Georgia counties in 2014. They were likely introduced to the states accidentally through shipping containers or potted plant materials.

States with giant flying Joro spiders

Joro spiders have been confirmed in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. A singular incident was reported in Oklahoma after a person had traveled there from northern Georgia, according to Penn State. Cases have also been reported in West Virginia and Maryland, according to Clemson University.

Are Joro spiders poisonous or harmful?

Joro spiders are venomous but do not have “medically important” bites, according to Penn State. Joro spiders are reluctant biters with small fangs and struggle to pierce human skin. Bites from the spiders hurt less than a bee sting, according to the article, and the pain is often localized to the bite area and goes away naturally.

Can Joro spiders fly?

Joro spiders have a natural mechanism called “ballooning,” which allows them to move through the air by releasing webs to catch the wind currents. The arachnids don’t have wings, but if the silk gets long enough, winds can carry them for 100 miles or more at a time, according to USA TODAY.

Giant flying spiders might invade the northeast

According to Penn State, Joro spiders can survive in low temperatures and are often found in northern Honshu, Japan, where temperatures range from 25 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in winter months. The average January temperature in northern Japan is similar to that of Pennsylvania, and the Joro spiders will likely “spread throughout eastern North America at least as far north as Pennsylvania and possibly further in warmer, coastal areas.”

How quickly venomous flying spiders are invading the U.S.

From 2014 to 2022, Joro spiders spread between 50 and 80 miles from the location where they were originally spotted. At around 10 miles per year, the spiders were predicted to reach Pennsylvania years from now, but factors can accelerate the process, according to Penn State.

The spiders are able to invade the U.S. more quickly due to their “ballooning” characteristic, similar to flying, as well as human transportation.

According to a news release from New Jersey Pest Control, a New Jersey-based pest control service, those in the state and surrounding ones like New York and Delaware have “heightened concerns” about the arrival of the spider this year.

“The potential for these spiders to establish populations in new regions raises questions about how local ecosystems will respond and adapt to their presence,” according to the release.

Anna Harden

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