I have received several calls in the past couple weeks about an invasive spider called the Joro, and many folks are saying there are a lot more than last year. I have heard the same from other agents in the area and have witnessed it at my home as well.

The Joro spider is a large, brightly colored and easily noticeable spider. They are a part of a family of spiders called golden orb-weavers that create large, multi-layered webs that are exceptionally strong.

Joros are distinctive because of their large size and spooky appearance with their yellow and black striped legs. These spiders are native to southeast Asia and Japan but were first found in North America in 2014 in Madison County. They most likely traveled in shipped goods and have readily taken hold in North Georgia.

Joros grow throughout the summer but are most noticeable in the fall when they reach their adult size of up to 4 inches diameter of their leg-span.

The Joro will lay their eggs inside of an insulated cocoon in the fall before dying when the weather reaches freezing in the late fall. A single female can lay from 400-1,500 eggs each year. In the spring when the weather begins to warm up, that cocoon will hatch and the young spiders will spread and begin their lifecycle again.

Joro spiders are not harmful to humans, and are usually very skittish. They do have a neurotoxin venom used to immobilize their prey, however it is not very potent and only causes some redness and blistering to people, with exception of rare allergic reactions. Their size and strength of their webs allow them to catch larger prey than typical spiders.

Joros are known to trap and feed on stink bugs and other pest species, though research is being conducted to see their impact on honey bees and other pollinators.

Despite their large size and bright coloring, these spiders cause very little risk to people. The largest nuisance they cause are there very strong webs that they spin on lower hanging tree limbs and around the house.

If these spiders are a pest in the trees surrounding your home, one of the best things you can do to disrupt them is to be consistent about knocking down their webs, encouraging them to move to a different area.

We are always here to help at the Banks County Extension Office. Ways to contact us are to call us at 706-677-6230, by email at zmccann@uga.edu, or to come by the office at 413 Evans street, Homer, GA.

Zach McCann is the Banks County extension agent.

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