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JUNE 2024 BLOG – JORO SPIDERS – Our New Neighborhood Aracnid in Baltimore, Maryland

Now in Maryland, Joro Spiders: Striking Beauties or Creepy Critters? 

The Joro spider, with its vibrant yellow and black markings and impressive size, has become a hot topic in the eastern United States. Accidentally introduced from East Asia, these spiders are causing a stir with their bold appearance and web-building habits. But are they cause for concern, or fascinating additions to our backyards? 

Eye-Catching Arachnids 

Joro spiders are undeniably eye-catching. Females, the larger sex, can reach a leg span of up to three inches! Their bright yellow bodies are adorned with bold black markings, and some even sport a golden hourglass design on their abdomens. Males, on the other hand, are much smaller and less colorful. 

Webs of Wonder (or Woe?) 

Joro spiders are orb weavers, known for their impressive circular webs. These webs can be quite large, sometimes spanning several feet. While some find these webs fascinating, others may find them bothersome. 

Friend or Foe? 

Despite their intimidating size, Joro spiders are not dangerous to humans. Their venom is mild, and bites are very rare. In fact, Joro spiders can be beneficial by helping to control populations of mosquitos and other flying insects. 

Joro on the Rise 

Since their arrival in the US around 2014, Joro spiders have been steadily expanding their range. They are currently found in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and may continue to spread. 

Living with Joros 

If Joro spiders have taken up residence in your yard, there are ways to coexist peacefully. Regularly trimming trees and shrubs can help to deter them from building webs in unwanted places. And remember, these spiders are more interested in catching insects than bothering you. So, the next time you see a Joro spider, take a moment to appreciate its beauty. These fascinating creatures may just become your unwelcome, but ultimately beneficial, neighbors. 

How big are Joro spiders in Pikesville, Maryland?

Joro spiders come in two distinct sizes depending on their sex:

  • Females: The stars of the show, female Joro spiders are the larger of the two and the ones you’re most likely to notice. Their body size can range from 0.66 to 0.98 inches (1.7 – 2.5 cm), but it’s their legs that truly make them impressive. Joro spider females can boast a leg span of up to 3 to 4 inches (7.62 – 10.16 cm), which is roughly the size of an adult human hand!
  • Males: The male Joro spiders are much smaller than their female counterparts. Their bodies are typically only around 0.27 to 0.39 inches (0.70 – 1 cm) long, and they lack the vibrant colors of the females. They’re usually a more subdued brown color.

 Is the Joro Spider coming to Baltimore Maryland? The Joro spider has already arrived in Maryland! Sightings were reported in Howard and Anne Arundel counties last summer, just outside of Baltimore.  Scientists believe they may become more common in the Baltimore area this summer due to their tendency to migrate towards areas with plentiful food sources. So, while they may not be in your backyard yet, there’s a good chance you could encounter a Joro spider in Baltimore this year. 

Do I have to be worried about the Joro spider? 

Absolutely not! Joro spiders pose very little threat to humans in Baltimore. Here’s why: 
Reluctant biters: Joro spiders are shy and would much rather flee than confront a human. Bites are extremely rare. Weak venom: Even if bitten, their venom is weak and unlikely to cause anything more than a mild irritation similar to a bee sting. So, you can relax and enjoy the sight of these interesting arachnids (if you’re so inclined!). In fact, they might even be beneficial by helping control pesky insects around your home.

Does the Joro spider bite? 

Joro spiders can indeed bite, but it’s important to remember two key things: Very unlikely: They are shy creatures and will try to escape rather than bite. Mild effects: If a bite does occur, the venom is weak for humans. Most people experience only minor discomfort comparable to a bee sting, and it goes away on its own. So, while they have the ability to bite, it’s a very rare occurrence with no serious consequences for most people. 

What do I do if Joro spider lands on me or my children? 

  • Joro spiders are unlikely to bite, but it’s understandable to be startled if one lands on you or your children. Here’s how to handle the situation calmly: 
  • Stay Calm: Joro spiders are more scared of you than you are of them. Avoid sudden movements that might frighten the spider. 
  • Gently Encourage It to Leave: The best course of action is to coax the spider away. Gently blow on it or use a piece of paper to guide it onto a nearby plant. 
  • Outdoor Encounter: If you’re outside, simply move away and let the spider go about its business. 
  • Indoor Encounter: If the spider is indoors and you’d prefer to remove it, use a cup or container to gently trap it. Place a piece of paper over the opening and carefully release it outdoors. 
  • What NOT to Do: Don’t swat or crush the spider: This could not only harm the spider but might also startle it, increasing the chance of a bite (although again, very unlikely). Joro spiders are beneficial insects that help control mosquitos and other pests. If you have any concerns or are uncomfortable handling the spider yourself, you can always call us at Queen B Pest Services for assistance. But remember, Joro spiders are more interested in catching insects than harming humans. 

Will the Joro spider always be around in Baltimore, Maryland from now on? 

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say for certain whether Joro spiders will become permanent residents of Baltimore, Maryland. Here’s why: New arrival: Joro spiders are a relatively new arrival to the area, with confirmed sightings only since 2023.
Climate uncertainty: The harsh Baltimore winters pose a challenge for these spiders, who are native to warmer climates in East Asia. Ongoing research: Scientists are still studying how Joro spiders will adapt to the Baltimore climate. Here are some possibilities: Established population: If Joro spiders can successfully reproduce and overwinter in Baltimore, they might establish a permanent presence. Seasonal visitors: They could become seasonal visitors, appearing in warmer months and dying off during the winter. Unsuccessful establishment: It’s also possible that the Baltimore climate proves too harsh, and they won’t be able to establish a stable population. Only time and further research will tell what the future holds for Joro spiders in Baltimore. However, their recent arrival and potential for adaptation suggest you might encounter them again this summer and possibly in the future. 

Can I protect my house from the Joro spiders getting inside? 

Joro spiders typically aren’t interested in spending time indoors, but if you’d like to deter them, here are some steps you can take: 

  • Seal entry points: Caulk gaps around windows, doors, foundations, and utility lines to prevent them from finding their way inside. 
  • Trim vegetation: Keep tree branches and shrubs away from the house to reduce potential crawling bridges for the spiders. 
  • Minimize outdoor lights: Joro spiders are attracted to insects, which in turn are attracted to lights. Turn off unnecessary outdoor lights at night, especially near entry points. 
  • Vacuum regularly: Pay attention to corners and baseboards where spiders might hide. 
  • Natural repellents: Some people use natural repellents like peppermint oil or cedarwood oil around entry points. While the evidence for these repellents is anecdotal, they may be worth trying if you’re uncomfortable with other options. Insecticides: While they’re effective, insecticde sprays should be a last resort. Joro spiders are beneficial predators that help control mosquitos and other insects. Additionally, using excessive pesticides can be harmful to the environment and may not be effective in the long term. 

How many Joro spiders will it be likely to see around me when I go outside? 

It’s difficult to predict exactly how many Joro spiders you’ll see outside in Baltimore. Here’s why: Relatively new: Joro spiders are still establishing themselves in the area. Populations likely fluctuate and may not be evenly distributed. Habitat preference: They prefer areas with trees, shrubs, and other vegetation where they can build webs. So you might see more in parks, wooded areas, or near overgrown properties. Seasonal activity: They’re more active during warmer months, so sightings will likely be more frequent in summer and early fall. However, considering recent trends, you might see: A few scattered webs: If you’re in an area suitable for them, you might see a couple of Joro spider webs scattered around. Occasional sightings: You might see a Joro spider itself on its web or scurrying across vegetation. But it’s unlikely to be a constant presence. Remember, Joro spiders are shy and prefer to avoid humans. So, while you might encounter them outside, they’re unlikely to be abundant or intrusive. 

What else can I do to deter Joro spiders from landing on me or invading my yard? 

Joro spiders, while not aggressive, can be startling with their size and webs. Here are some additional strategies to deter them from getting too close to you or invading your yard, besides the methods mentioned previously: 

  • Discourage Web Building: Remove existing webs: Regularly clear away webs from around doorways, windows, patios, and other areas where you spend time outdoors. This disrupts their habitat and discourages them from rebuilding in those spots. 
  • Reduce clutter: Piles of leaves, firewood, or debris around your yard can provide attractive nesting sites. Keep your yard tidy to make it less appealing to Joro spiders. 
  • Natural Deterrents: Plant repellent herbs: Certain plants like lavender, citronella, and peppermint are said to have spider-repelling properties. While the scientific evidence is mixed, planting these herbs around your porch or patio might be worth a try. Citrus peels: The strong scent of citrus fruits may deter spiders. Scatter dried orange, lemon, or grapefruit peels around potential entry points. However, this method requires frequent replacement as the scent fades over time. 
  • Modify Your Outdoor Lighting: Adjust light color: Joro spiders, like many insects, are attracted to white lights. If you have outdoor lights near entryways, consider switching to yellow or sodium vapor bulbs. These are less attractive to insects and may help deter Joro spiders. Remember, these methods may not completely eliminate Joro spiders from your yard, but they can help make your outdoor spaces less inviting to them. The key is to be persistent  and combine several of these strategies for the best results. Finally, it’s important to remember that Joro spiders are beneficial insects that help control mosquito populations. If you can tolerate their presence, they can actually be helpful allies in your backyard. But if you’re still uncomfortable, the methods above should help keep them at bay.

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