Does the Joro Spider Pose a Danger to You and Your Family?

Does the Joro Spider Pose a Danger to You and Your Family?

Is there a new scary spider in town? Much has been made of the Joro spider in the last few months. It’s grabbing headlines for the fact that it can grow to be as large as the palm of your hand, and will likely be in North Carolina if they aren’t here already. 

Here’s what you need to know about Joro spiders and whether or not they pose a danger to your family.

What Is the Joro Spider?

joro spider

The Joro spider originates in China, Korea, and Japan. Its official name is Tricho Nephila Clavata. The Joro spider begin their lives during the winter as eggs and emerge in the spring as miniature juveniles. An adult female is about seventeen to twenty-five millimeters in size, whereas the adult male is only seven to ten millimeters.

A female's web can grow to be several feet long. The yellow strands look to be golden in the sunlight. The web's cross-section reveals a unique design for an orb web. It has three layers: the core orb, plus two uneven tiers above and behind it.

Females are quite striking in appearance, with yellow and dark blue stripes and red near the back of the abdomen. During the fall, females will spin an egg sack on a tree where they will lay upwards of four hundred to 1,500 eggs. Her life cycle comes to an end when the spider dies in late autumn or early winter.

Joro spiders build large, elaborate nests to catch their prey. They are venomous, but their venom cannot be transferred to humans. 

Where Is the Joro Spider Found?

While the spider originates in Asia, it has been increasingly spotted in the southeastern United States in recent years. The first sighting was in Georgia in 2013. 

Since then, the Joro has spread throughout Georgia and has been seen in South Carolina and possibly even in parts of North Carolina. It is believed this spider could spread throughout the East Coast. 

Why the Joro Is Likely to Spread North

It is unknown how this large spider came to the United States. The first ones most likely hitched a ride on a shipping container. Scientists believe the Joro might soon be located up and down the East Coast. One of the main reasons they seem to survive and thrive in our area is their resistance to cold weather. 

As reported by WKRC Local 12:

“Researchers say the eight-legged creatures are unusual because they're able to survive in colder climates. The UGA study found the Joros have a 77% higher heart rate than its relatives, enabling it to survive a brief freeze.”

The Joro Spider Is an Invasive Species

The Joro spider could be considered an invasive species. What does that mean? According to the National Wildlife Federation:

“An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an amphibian (like the cane toad), plant, insect, fish, fungus, bacteria, or even an organism’s seeds or eggs—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm.”

However, the Joro spider has not shown signs of disrupting ecosystems or food webs. Aside from looking scary, they pose little threat to your home, family, pets, or property. 

Why the Joro Spider Is Not a Threat to Your Family

The Joro Spider is certainly large and could be frightening to your family. Upwards of 75% of people are mildly or very afraid of arachnids

Why are spiders so scary? We wrote about some of the reasons people fear these eight-legged creates in a previous article

  • Many people are frightened by spiders because they are frequently in close proximity to others who are afraid of spiders. You develop your fear before even really knowing why.
  • The movement of spiders is unsettling. When they scuttle, it is pretty freaky. We don’t like that they don’t simply walk, run, or crawl. Of course, some spiders scuttle quite quickly and can even jump. 
  • There are at least two times too many legs on spiders. It makes us feel uncomfortable to see that many legs in action all at once.
  • There’s a reason spider webs show up in haunted houses and scary decorations. It is creepy seeing spiders catch their prey in webs made of silk they produce. When we see their webs unoccupied, we can’t help but wonder where they are going to show up. 
  • Spiders are rarely used as friendly creatures in television and film. Movies like Arachnaphobia and the Harry Potter Franchise have used spiders to instill fear in people. 
  • Some spiders are actually dangerous to humans. Their venom can inflict serious harm to people bitten. Anything that can bite and hurt us can be quite scary. 
  • The size of spiders can be quite frightening. You have likely heard of the Huntsman spider native to Australia that can grow to as large as a foot in diameter. While the Joro spider is not that large, its size can still be alarming. 

While the Joro spider has all the characteristics that make spiders scary, it is not harmful to humans. It cannot pass its venom to you or your family members, so the parts of it that instill fear are mostly superficial. 

Should You Have the Joro Spider Exterminated?

As we discussed above, the Joro spider can be frightening to see due to their size and bright colors; however, they can actually be helpful to have around. Some of the benefits of having a few spiders around include:

  • Joro spiders can reduce the population of harmful pests.
  • Joro spiders can reduce the population of plant-eating spiders. 
  • Joro spiders make beautiful webs.
  • Joro spiders can be something you use to help your children better understand spiders.

Per NCSU Extension Forestry:

“As far as the scary headlines, Joro spiders are venomous in terms of how they subdue their insect prey; they are not harmful to humans.”

While the Joro spider itself is not a threat to your family, there are some spiders in the Carolinas and Virginia that can be quite harmful if you encounter them on your property.

Spiders That Do Pose a Threat to Your Family

harmful spiders

There are some spiders in North Carolina and Virginia that do indeed pose a threat to your family. Here is a brief rundown of the types of spiders you don’t want to have hanging around your home:

1. Brown Recluse Spiders

These spiders are unquestionably the most hazardous in our area. They are solitary creatures, but if you locate one, there may be many. 

Unfortunately, they can be difficult to identify, and you are not likely to see signs of them until you have encountered one. If you do see signs of a brown recluse presence, you must contact us right away.

2. Black Widow Spiders

These spiders lurk in the dark and dreary corners of your home. They are extremely harmful and should be removed immediately. 

Their dark color and red mark help to identify them. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to see until you are very close to them. If you are bitten by a black widow, seek medical attention right away.

3. Yellow Sac Spiders

Even though these spiders are the least dangerous on the list, they are still not something you want to find in your home. You need to get rid of these spiders as quickly as possible.

4. False Black Widow Spiders

You're probably not especially concerned whether or not it's a real or fake black widow; you just want it gone if you see one. They are not as venomous as black widow spiders, yet they are dangerous nonetheless. If you see a false black widow, you need to get rid of it as much as you do a real black widow spider.

Spider Extermination in the Carolinas and Virginia

What do you do if you have spotted venomous or unwanted spiders in your home? You need to have them eliminated and remove the factors that attracted them to your property in the first place. 

Some of what attracts venomous spiders to your home are the same as the factors that attract other insects to your property. Spiders are at your home because the insects they love to eat are there as well. You can reduce the chance of spiders showing up by following these steps:

  • Scheduling an extermination of all pests so spiders have nothing to eat.
  • Vacuuming and sweeping up the crumbs and food items that attract indoor pests.
  • Reducing moisture issues to detract moisture-loving pests from invading your home.
  • Move wood piles away from your home.
  • Trim hedges and landscaping, so there are at least two feet of separation between bushes and your home.
  • Eliminate drainage issues in your yard to prevent the development of mosquito breeding zones.

If you have a spider infestation or too many of the pests spiders eat, you need the team at Rid-A-Bug to help. We have thirty years of experience helping homeowners throughout the Carolinas and Virginia, and tackle a wide range of pest infestations. 

Contact us today for more information about our pest control services, or to schedule an extermination.