Experts Say Large, Invasive Parachute Spiders Will Cover Entire East Coast – CBS Baltimore

Atlanta, GA (WGCL) — One of Georgia’s newest residents is already struggling with acceptance here in the Peach State.

“It’s disgusting,” said Anna Reed.

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“A big no!” said Donneisha Match

“Oh Lord Jesus,” said Gregory Lightfoot.

Scientists from the University of Georgia have published a study that says our new eight-legged residents in Georgia will become even more prolific and spread all over the east coast.

“No predators, it has nothing to control its population size in the new habitat, but it has perfect conditions to disperse,” said Benjamin Frick, study co-author and student at the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia.

Originally from Japan, the 3-inch Joro spider first made its way to Georgia, but it has slowly begun to spread.

Scientists say its ability to survive the cold means it will continue to do so.

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“So in our experiment, we exposed them to a brief cold spell at sub-freezing temperatures for just a few minutes, and most Joros did just fine,” Andy Davis, study co-author and research scientist Odum School of Ecology, The University ofGeorgia.

Researchers have found that the spiders can travel using their webs like balloons or parachutes to ride the wind. But it is ignorant people who will spread them faster.

“We had a Joro that was found in Oklahoma, we tracked the person who made the observation and it turned out to be a student from here,” Davis said.

Joros don’t appear to have major impacts on local food webs or ecosystems, Davis said.

And as menacing as the large spiders look, experts say they are fearful cats and you’re highly unlikely to be bitten by one.

“Its fangs are so small compared to most human skin that it probably won’t be able to get its fangs into you even if it wanted to,” Frick said.

Frick and Davis said if you’re unfortunate enough to be bitten by a Joro, its bite feels far less than a wasp sting, like a tiny pinch. They have some venom, but like a bee or wasp sting, most don’t require medical treatment. We can expect to see webs towards the end of May/early June, but the really big female webs arrive in early autumn.

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Jake Nichol

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