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Should We Be Alarmed by the Arrival of Joro Spiders?

The arrival of Joro spiders in new regions has sparked concern, but it's crucial to distinguish fear from fact. These arachnids may actually benefit ecosystems by controlling pests. Understanding their impact is key to coexisting peacefully. How might these eight-legged newcomers reshape our environmental tapestry? Join us as we unravel the web of implications surrounding the Joro spider's spread.

Just hearing the word "spider" is enough to give some people goosebumps, and when you add "invasive," "millions," and "big," well, it might feel like it's time to hide under the covers.

However, even though those terms are all apt for the Japanese arthropod commonly called the joro spider, experts say there's no real cause for concern. Spotted for the first time in Georgia in 2014, the spiders have pretty much made themselves at home there and are now thought to be spreading up the East Coast, possibly even into Canada. Sorry, it's not an April Fool's joke.

The joro spiders that could soon spread up the East Coast may look scary, but they won't harm people or the environment.
The joro spiders that could soon spread up the East Coast may look scary, but they won't harm people or the environment.

But try not to worry. Even though the joro spider can grow to 3 inches (7.6 cm) in width, is brightly colored (blue, yellow and red), and can weave webs 10 feet (3 m) deep, they are not dangerous to humans or the environment, and scientists say they might even be helpful. For instance, joro spiders prey on some harmful critters that other spiders don't, like the brown marmorated stink bug, which can be devastating to crops.

Spellbinding spiders:

  • Research shows that on average, you are never more than about 10 feet (3 m) from a spider (sorry).

  • A strand of spider silk is five times stronger than a piece of steel of the same thickness.

  • More than 100 spider species have evolved to mimic ants, either to prey on them or to avoid predators of their own.

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    • The joro spiders that could soon spread up the East Coast may look scary, but they won't harm people or the environment.
      By: Daniel Ramirez
      The joro spiders that could soon spread up the East Coast may look scary, but they won't harm people or the environment.