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Palm-sized spiders native to East Asia take hold in Georgia

Spider Takeover
Posted at 11:13 AM, Nov 01, 2021

A spider species native to East Asia has made its way to Georgia and is cloaking parts of the state in its webs.

Millions of palm-sized Joro spiders have suspended themselves in webs on porches, power lines, and mailboxes in about 25 counties in the southern state, according to the University of Georgia.

Entomologists at the university say residents need to become comfortable with the new arachnid in town because it’s not going anywhere.

The Joro spiders were first identified in the state in 2014. Scientists believe they may have made it to the area via a shipping container that was dropped off on I-85 in the Braselton area.

Arachnophobes aren’t too thrilled with the new addition to the state, but the scientists say they haven’t yet seen any negative effects on any native species.

The only negative aspect of the species seems to be the nuisance caused by their extreme numbers in 2021. But experts believe Mother Nature will take its course and the numbers will settle down to a moderate amount over time.

Scientists also say residents of the state could even benefit from the spiders because they can act as free pest control. They can naturally suppress pests without chemicals by killing mosquitoes, biting flies, and stink bugs.

For those who need to eliminate the spiders on their property, experts say you can take a leaf rake or a stick and wrap the spider in its web in a ball. Then, they say you can lay the web on the ground and step on the spider, repeating as necessary. You could also spray them with aerosol products.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article erroneously referred to the spiders as an invasive species. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, an invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native. The spiders have not yet been shown to be harmful in Georgia, so they don't fit that definition.