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Should you be scared of the flying Joro spiders set to invade New York City?

Published Jun 5th, 2024 1:01PM EDT
Joro spider with green background in Japan
Image: LemonMyrtle / Adobe

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New York City is expecting invaders this summer, and they’ll come in the form of parachuting Joro spiders. These massive spiders are originally native to East Asia, but they’ve been spreading across the US for more than a decade now.

While they aren’t as scary as they look, these spiders are known for the massive sticky webs they weave. They’ve been spreading across the southern United States for years and have even appeared as far north as Maryland in the past. Now, though, new research from Clemson University suggests that they’ll make landfall in New York and New Jersey as soon as this summer.

There have been a lot of rumors about these parachuting Joro spiders in the past. Sure, they can float along the wind using their web, but misconceptions about their size are just that.

Some rumors say they can grow as large as a human hand. However, researchers insist that most actually stick between the size of a nickel and a quarter, making them relatively small. At its largest, however, you may see one that is as large as a baby’s hand.

Joro spider is spreading legs on webImage source: Jakub / Adobe

Of course, their legs are another matter entirely. This is where they get their large size from, and with outstretched legs, these spiders can absolutely reach over a human hand. Still, the idea of floating spiders invading the place you live might not sound that enticing. Thankfully, these spiders are a lot more docile than you’d expect from their bright colors and somewhat threatening size.

In fact, previous research has shown that these parachuting Joro spiders are more afraid of things than other spiders, with many of them freezing for up to an hour when a stressor is introduced to their environment.

Of course, like any spider, they can still bite, so it isn’t recommended to go around picking them up. They generally aren’t aggressive towards humans, though. And while Joro spiders are venomous, their venom isn’t dangerous to people.

In short, Joro spiders seem much scarier than they actually are, and you have nothing to be afraid of.

As for the parachuting, that only happens after the eggs hatch, and since that’s already done for the year, you shouldn’t have to worry about any massive Joro spiders parachuting down onto your head this summer. These spiders can help cut down on pesky insects in the regions they invade, but they also cull many of the local spider species. Scientists are still trying to understand the impact Joro spiders are having on those environments.

This summer, New Yorkers and folks in other places where these parachuting Joro spiders are known to live should keep an eye out for their webs. They tend to like open areas with lots of access to insects that can fly into their webs, which they’ll weave across several feet.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.