One thing that wasn’t on our 2024 bingo card was giant spiders the size of our hand making their home in New York City, but alas, we may be in for a rude awakening. An invasive species of spiders, dubbed Joro Spiders, have been spotted as far north as Maryland, and experts say they’ll soon reach New York.
The black and yellow spiders first made their way to the United States back in 2013 from East Asia via shipping containers.
They’ve since spread across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Maryland, and even as far west as Oklahoma, according to iNaturalist.
The eight-legged arachnids–which can measure a horrifying eight inches across–are known for using their webs as parachutes to fly through the sky. And no, that’s not a joke. They’re literally known as the “ballooning spider.”
And, as of recently, they’ve been seen hitching rides on cars traveling up I-95. And now it’s a matter of when, not if, they arrive in New York.
José R. Ramírez-Garofalo an ecologist in the Lockwood Lab at Rutgers University told Staten Island Advance:
Right now, we are seeing them dispersing into Maryland, so soon enough, possibly even next year, they should be in New Jersey and New York.
The way we see it, these spiders come with a list of their own pros and cons.
- The pros: they eat the nefarious Spotted Lanternflies that have seemingly taken over NYC (along with practically anything else that gets caught in their web). Plus, they don’t pose a threat to humans and are far more likely to be found outside than inside.
- The cons: regardless of not posing a threat to humans, we can’t promise you won’t cry if one does make its way into your apartment.
So, what should you do if you spot any Joro Spiders?
According to Staten Island Advance, Lead researcher Professor David Coyle said that while pesticides can kill them, they’ll also kill just about everything else. So your best bet if you find one on your house is to just use a stick or broom to remove it.
Though if you come face to face with one of these bad boys we know that’s easier said than done.
As intimidating as they do look, however, at least the fact that their fangs are too small to penetrate human flesh gives us a bit of peace of mind. Pretty much, if you leave it alone it won’t show any interest in bothering you.