Have you taken a walk through the woods lately? It does not take many trees to be considered woods when it comes to the Joro Spider. The Joro thrives in the woods but is often found around carports and entry ways around homes. Most residents in Jackson and surrounding counties will now identify the Joro even without spotting the spider itself. You see, it’s not the beauty of the spider’s colors that gets our attention. It is the golden webs that are tangled around us that first gets our attention.
Joro spiders can be up to 3 inches in size when their legs, similar in size to the Banana and Yellow Garden spiders. Joro’s are characterized by yellow and blue-black stripes on their backs and red markings on their undersides. Another unique characteristic of the Joro is their large, golden colored webs, which they prefer to make higher off the ground than many species. Joro spiders spread through a unique travel method known as ballooning, the wind carries them across an area on a strand of their web. This is the primary method for males to locate potential mates, especially in areas with a large population. A single female Joro can lay approximately 400-1,500 eggs in a single egg sac. Joro’s mature in early September and die in late November when the temperature drops.
Joro spiders were first detected in Georgia in 2013, since then this invasive species has spread across 23 Georgia counties. Originally from East Asia (Korea, Japan, and China), the spiders are believed to have first arrived as stowaways on shipping containers destined for the distribution centers along the I-85 corridor. The spider is not harmful to humans, and for the most part is very timid. They prefer to run away rather than pose a threat. They do carry have a neurotoxic venom, which is not very potent, and only causes some redness and blistering on the skin in most instances.
UGA and other institutions are still studying the Joro’s potential impact on the local ecosystem; however, it has had a small upside in curbing populations of invasive brown marmorated stink bugs, which invade homes and destroy crops, and does not appear to compete with local spider populations. In fact, native spiders such as the dewdrop spider, which frequently steals food from other spiders, have made their homes in Joro webs and the Joro has become a prey to mud dauber wasps and native birds.
If you have a Joro making a web around your home, it is recommended to simply use a broom to shoo it away and make it’s home somewhere else as the spider’s population growth suggest it is here to stay.
The Jackson County Extension Service is part of the University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental Science. It is located at 255 Curtis H. Spence Dr. in Jefferson. For any agriculture, home garden, or soil and water testing questions contact ANR Agent Greg Pittman (email@example.com) at 706-367-6344.