Greg Holley, owner of Zone Pest Solutions in Buford, Ga., reports an emerging spider species that can make back porches “look like Halloween” with their massive webs: the Jorō spider (Trichonephila clavata), an Asian orb weaver species that is becoming prevalent in northern Georgia and western South Carolina since its U.S. arrival approximately 7 years ago. According to a Sept. 29 article in USA Today, the palm-sized spider is theorized to have hitched a ride “in a shipping container from China or Japan.”
“The first infestation in the U.S. was in Jackson County, Ga., and they have been sighted frequently since then,” Holley tells Pest Management Professional. “You know you’re dealing with Jorōs when you walk around the house — typically, you’d find one orb weaver web. You’ll easily encounter 30 Jorō webs, practically on top of one another.”
Although they’re more of a nuisance than a public health threat, Holley says, Jorōs are a particular problem on boat docks. “We’ve always trained technicians to clear webs at an account as a best practice,” he adds, “but now they’re becoming even more diligent about it.”
In the USA Today article, University of Georgia (UGA) entomologist Dr. Nancy Hinkle said most of the spiders will die off in November, but rebound when their egg sacs hatch in the spring. At press time, researchers at both the UGA and Clemson University are keeping an eye on the invasive species — and its voracious appetite for insects, especially stink bugs — to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect local ecologies. Watch a short video the UGA produced about the spider on YouTube.
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