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Here come the parachuting spiders!

Remember the murder hornets? The evildoers we feared would come in an almost Biblical tandem with a worldwide pandemic that, at the time, had just begun. Mercifully, though, science seems to have kept those nasty bugs in check – at least for now.

Say hello, then, to the Japanese Joro spider, an arachnid the University of Georgia said two weeks ago is expected to “colonize” the entire East Coast this spring “by parachuting down from the sky.”

Parachuting spiders? What possibly could go wrong?

“They’re more fun than frightening,” Cornell University ecologist Linda Rayor told Binghamton television station WBNG. “There is no evidence that this spider presents any sort of an ecological risk or risk to people or pets of being bitten.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Mary Ellen Calta tells The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta the spiders do not appear to have much of an effect on local food webs or ecosystems.

“The University of Georgia reports the Japanese Joro spider has been in the United States since 2013,” she said. “It is not considered dangerous. Joro spiders may even become favored bird food.”

For you spider-haters out there, though, here’s where it gets a little dicey:

“It is expected that the Joro, with females the size of your palm, will be heading north,” she said. “You’re likely to see their big webs draped over trees and power lines.”

A spider the size of your palm. And they parachute! The University of Georgia’s report said the big bugs fanned out across Georgia “using their webs as tiny parachutes to travel with the wind.” The University’s report says that the crawlers are harmless to humans, as their fangs are too small to break human skin. That makes the spider “more of a nuisance than dangerous,” says the report.

“Joros are known to travel by web or hitching on luggage and cars,” Ms. Calta said. “When our local ‘snowbirds’ return from Florida in April, don’t be surprised if Joros come back with some of them.”


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