science : Could Venomous Flying Spiders Be Dropping in on You Soon?

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:45 PM

Nafeza 2 world - June 4, 2024 9:19 PM EDT

If you live in the New Jersey and New York area, brace yourself—giant venomous spiders could soon be flying your way.

In January, the company New Jersey Pest Control cautioned the public that the Joro spiders native to East Asia have spread to the southeastern United States, and were expected to move north to the New Jersey area later in the year. The invasive species have a leg span of up to 4 inches and yellow and black bodies, according to the company. While Joro spiders are venomous, their venom isn’t dangerous to humans, Gothamist reported.

“These spiders are hard to miss,” the company said. “What sets them apart, however, is their ability to fly, a trait uncommon among spiders.”

The company clarified that the spiders don’t fly in the way birds do, but they use a technique called “ballooning,” which involves them releasing silk threads into the air and being carried by the wind.

Experts suspect that the spiders came to the U.S. because they were accidentally transported through cargo shipments, international trade or personal travel, according to the company. While exactly how they were brought to the U.S. is uncertain, “the consequences of their arrival are becoming increasingly evident,” New Jersey Pest Control said. Georgia is believed to be the “ground zero” of the Joro spider invasion.

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Last year, University of Georgia biologist Andy Davis, who studies Joro spiders, told The New York Times that the arachnids could reach New York by the summer, but none have been spotted yet.

David Coyle, an assistant professor in the department of forestry and environmental conservation at Clemson University and one of the authors of a peer-reviewed study about the spiders that was published last fall, had previously said in a Clemson University press release that “these things are here to stay.” The study found that Joro spiders will be able to inhabit most of the eastern U.S. Coyle has since clarified that there’s no set timeline on when the spiders could arrive on the east coast.

“I think the Joro *has the ability* to spread beyond the Southeast based on environmental conditions in its native range. In terms of a time frame… there isn't one. It might be this year. Might be a decade. Heck, it might not happen at all,” Coyle told PIX11 News. “Spread rate depends on many factors, some environmental, some human, some that are just spider biology.”

Linda Susan Rayor, senior lecturer and senior research associate in the department of entomology at Cornell University who has written about the spiders, told PIX11 News that she didn’t believe the spiders would arrive in New York this summer “unless people move them” because “they are unlikely to balloon for many hundreds of miles.”

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