Flying venomous Joro spiders may spread to New Jersey this summer

Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Flying venomous Joro spiders may spread to New Jersey this summer
Flying venomous Joro spiders may spread to New Jersey this summer

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Summer is just a few weeks away, and that means we could be closer to seeing parachuting spiders.

Joro spiders, or Trichonephila clavata, is black and yellow, about the size of your palm and can grow up to four inches.

They can also parachute up to 100 miles on a balloon made from their spider silk.

"Joro spiders utilize a technique known as ballooning, where they release silk threads into the air, allowing them to be carried by the wind," the NJ Pest Control explained.

Joro spider
Joro spider

Scientists predict the spiders could spread and reproduce in New Jersey, or even Delaware.

"That's one of the scariest things I ever heard. I hope to not encounter them and hope they fly right over New Jersey," said Jordan Torroni, of Audubon.

Joro spiders were first spotted in the United States around 2013, according to a University of Georgia news release.

Experts we spoke with say they've been spotted as far north as Maryland, but don't expect a large invasion if they do show up here.

"It's unlikely that you'll see them anytime soon just because when they first come, it's in low abundance, but it's definitely possible," said Jose Ramirez-Garofalo, an ecologist with Rutgers University. "They're also a lot of spider species that are a lot like them that are already here. Garden orb weavers are pretty common throughout the region."

Ramírez-Garofalo predicted last fall that it's a "matter of when, not if" they come to the New Jersey area.

Camden County's entomologist is keeping track of them but says people shouldn't stress about them.

"They're shy, nonaggressive spiders. Unless you're going to mess with it, it's not going to go bite you," said Lauren Bonus, entomologist and superintendent of the Camden County Mosquito Commission.

She says spiders typically only balloon or parachute when they're babies. And she points to the fact that Joro spiders - like others - will eat some of the bugs we spend all summer trying to avoid.

"There is a little bit of research saying that they might actually eat the spotted lanternfly, so I think I'm pretty excited for the Joro spider to come here," said Bonus. "It sounds like they're doing us a favor and they're not causing any harm or any public health concern."

She also says they eat stink bugs, which is pretty rare.

The spider is venomous, but its fangs are incapable of breaking human skin. So while it is advised to kill certain invasive species such as the spotted lantern fly, the Joros can be left alone, said author Andy Davis, a research scientist at the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology.

If you happen to see one and want to report it to researchers, you can visit

CNN contributed to this report.