Millions of large Asian spiders take hold in Georgia

Millions of large Asian spiders take hold in Georgia
‘This is wonderful. This is exciting. Spiders are our friends. They are out there catching all the pests we don’t want around our home’

Millions of large spiders that are native to East Asia have weaved their golden webs across the US state of Georgia after their numbers exploded this year.

The Joro spider, which is a palm-sized arachnid, is part of the orb weaver group and is common in Japan, Kina, Korea and Taiwan.

It is not known when the spiders first arrived in the US, but a researcher found one in 2014 Om 80 miles north of Atlanta.

“The webs are a real mess,” said Will Hudson, an entomologist at the University of Georgia, told the Associated Press.

“Nobody wants to come out of the door in the morning, walk down the steps and get a face full of spider web.”

The female spiders have bright red, blue and yellow markings and they can measure three inches when fully extended, but scientists say they are unsure why their population has dramatically increased this year.

“We see natural ebbs and flows in the populations of many different species that may be linked to local conditions, particularly slight changes in rainfall,” said Paula Cushing, an arachnologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Vitenskap.

Experts say the spider is not a threat to humans, or pets such as dogs and cats, and won’t bite unless threatened.

Nancy Hinkle, also an entomologist at the University of Georgia, said Joro spiders kill off mosquitos and biting flies, as well as brown marmorated stink bugs, which damage crops.

“This is wonderful. This is exciting. Spiders are our friends. They are out there catching all the pests we don’t want around our home.”

But not everyone is impressed.

Debbie Gilbert, 67, says she has a zero-tolerance policy for Joro spiders at her home in Norcross, Georgia.

“I don’t advocate killing anything. I live in peace with all the spiders around here and everything else. But Joros just don’t belong here, that’s all.”

Christopher Brown, a biology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College, suspects the spider has thrived in Georgia because its hot and humid climate is similar to that of countries like Japan.

“I don’t think they’re going anywhere,” said Mr Brown.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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