Just when the Northeast U.S. thought it was done with pest invasions following the spotted lanternflies and cicadas, a new, more terrifying invader is on the horizon: Joro spiders – giant venomous spiders that can parachute through the air.

These spiders, known as Joro spiders, are set to make their presence known with their striking appearance and unique method of travel.

Earlier this year, New Jersey Pest Control sounded the alarm about the incoming Joro spiders, warning that these arachnids will be “hard to miss.”

Female Joro spiders can reach up to four inches in leg span and are distinguished by their vibrant yellow and grey bodies.

“What sets them apart, however, is their ability to fly, a trait uncommon among spiders,” the company explained. “While not accurate flight in the avian sense, Joro spiders utilize a technique known as ballooning, where they release silk threads into the air, allowing them to be carried by the wind.”

José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, an ecologist at Rutgers University’s Lockwood Lab and president of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods on Staten Island, emphasized the inevitability of their arrival in New York and New Jersey.

“It is a matter of when, not if,” Ramírez-Garofalo told SI Live.

A peer-reviewed study published last October by invasive species expert David Coyle confirmed that the Joro spider is “here to stay.”

According to the study, these spiders, native to Asia, were introduced to north Georgia around 2010 and have been spreading ever since.

Despite warnings since 2022, no Joro spiders have been detected in New York yet, but experts believe it’s only a matter of time.

“Anyone that doesn’t sort of like all the creepy crawly things, this has all of the characteristics that makes them squeamish,” Coyle told CBS News.

In a press release, he added, “data show that this spider is going to be able to inhabit most of the eastern U.S.

It shows that their comfort area in their native range matches up very well with much of North America.”

Reports of Joro spiders have come in from various parts of the eastern U.S., including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio.

New York sits “right in the middle of where they like to be,” according to University of Georgia researcher Andy Davis.

He told The New York Times in December that the spiders could appear across New York and neighboring states this summer – meaning any day now.

“They seem to be OK with living in a city,” Davis noted, mentioning that he has seen Joro spiders on street lamps and telephone poles, places “regular spiders wouldn’t be caught dead in.”

Despite their intimidating size and appearance, the Joro spiders do not pose a danger to humans.

“We have no evidence that they’ve done any damage to a person or a pet,” Coyle assured.

The venom of Joro spiders is reserved for their prey, which includes butterflies, wasps, and cockroaches. However, they could pose a threat to native spider populations.

As the Northeast prepares for the possible invasion of these airborne arachnids, residents are advised to stay informed and keep an eye out for these vibrant newcomers.

While they may cause a stir with their unexpected presence, understanding their behavior and ecological impact will be crucial in managing this latest addition to the region’s diverse wildlife.

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Source: CBS News

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