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Joro spiders: They're sticking around Georgia and expanding their reach

Joro spiders are probably here to stay, and they're likely to move on up the Eastern Seaboard too.
Dorothy Kozlowski
Joro spiders are probably here to stay, and they're likely to move on up the Eastern Seaboard too.

Joro spiders were seemingly everywhere in Georgia last summer and fall and, as WUGA’s Martin Matheny reports, they’re likely to expand their territory this year.

Bright yellow and black, an inch or more across, and sitting in the middle of a huge, sticky, golden-yellow web, Joro spiders became a commonplace sight in yards, woods, and porches last year. Now, scientists at the University of Georgia say the prolific arachnids are on track to spread across the Eastern Seaboard thanks to their ability to withstand cold temperatures and so-called “ballooning,” the ability of Joro hatchlings to ride the wind with their silk, an efficient way to colonize new locations.

While some researchers are worried about the rapid, invasive spread of the eight-legged nomads, the Odum School of Ecology’s Andy Davis says that Georgians should learn to live with them.

“If they’re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side, but they’re just going to be back next year," Davis said.

That's a sentiment echoed by Benjamin Frick, co-author of the study and an undergraduate researcher in the School of Ecology.

“There’s really no reason to go around actively squishing them,” Frick said. “Humans are at the root of their invasion. Don’t blame the Joro spider.”

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.