Cue The Paparazzi, It’s a Spider!

A friend from the south sent this along. It is a good explanation about the spider that has been making news for the past week or so.

Spider on hand



They are called Joro Spiders.

They are a member of the Orb Weaver family of spiders which means they spin magnificent webs! These guys create beautiful golden spider webs.

You are safe…While they are venomous to insects, their mandibles aren’t big enough to cause injury. If you were to be bit, it would be comparable to a bee sting. Birds and lizards love them as snacks! They also don’t fly. They are parachuting, as most spiders are. This essentially means they bungee jump using their own silk cord and use the wind to carry them.

They also aren’t new here in the US. Since first appearing in about 2014, the Joro spider appears to have become established in north-central and northeast Georgia, with a presence in neighboring areas of Tennessee and South Carolina. They have been spotted between Forsyth, Ga., and Baltimore, with an anomalous sighting in Oklahoma in 2021.

No need to kill them…There is no evidence suggesting that they’ve caused any disruption to native ecosystems of the Southeast, where they have been most prevalent. They are just your friendly pest controlling artist neighbor.

Info from Melissa Robb [Posted on FaceBook]

I verified her well-written statement. These are the two points that I want to underline:

The spiders have been in the US for a decade and have been spreading up the east coast for two years or more.

Experts say the Joro spider does not pose a risk to humans or pets. “They have venom just like any other spider does,” says Davis. “But as long as you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.” Part of that has to do with the personality of the spider, which experts describe as fairly docile and shy. [source: Time Magazine]


Why are we so afraid of bugs?

Steven Johnson, in Mind Wide Open, describes brain science that explains the brain process when people see a snake or bug and react in fear. There are brain pathways that act like motor reflexes. Motor reflexes are the process that makes you pull your hand away from a hot object without engaging most of your brain (That’s the example I learned in elementary school!) Not only do people react to snakes and bugs as a reflex, people flinch because they see something that could be a snake or bug, when it’s not.

Human evolution favors people who avoid bugs and snakes because, back in human history, people were more likely to die of snakebite or insect-borne illnesses. It is better to flinch at nothing than to be bitten by a Black Widow spider. Because of this, many people have this instinct.

Fear and memory

Some of what we learn about memory comes from people who have damaged memories. Steven Johnson wrote about a patient who could not form short term memories, like the characters in Memento and 50 First Dates. It seems that people with this affliction will remember something that is painful. When a doctor pricked the patient while shaking hands, the patient refused to shake his hand the next day; prior to that, the patient remembered nothing about the doctor. However, the patient still had no memory of the doctor, except that she oughtn’t shake his hand.

We remember what hurts us at a lower/instinctive brain level. This is different from day-to-day memory. People who are afraid of bugs are afraid on a subconscious level.

What to do about this spider–and the news

Tune out the clickbait

Chances are, you or someone you know is wigged out about this spider. Let’s face it, that is one.big.spider. Stories about big ugly bugs make great clickbait.

When you pay attention to something, you notice it. So, if you don’t want to start flinching whenever you see something yellow and black, tune out stories about this bug.

You can use your rational brain to remind yourself that the spider is unlikely to parachute out of a tree and bite you to death. The bug has been in the US for ten years. The folks in Georgia have gotten used to them. Japan has them all over the place! Joro spiders are being studied and, so far, seems unlikely to harm people, pets, or plants.

These bugs are a lot like cicadas this way. Cicadas don’t harm any plants or animals, but they.are.ugly,and.noisy. Nearly every year, there are clickbait stories about these ugly bugs. That’s because they come up someplace in the US almost every year. Here’s a map that shows you.

If you or your loved one hates spiders, recruit your rational brain as much as possible

After you screech, make a plan to get rid of the big scary spider. These spiders are docile. You can shoo them away with a broom. Then you are rid of it without getting within two feet of it. If one gets in your house, find a container big enough to trap it and kick it out. For me, the idea of squishing it is grosser than I want to imagine.

Have a nice day.


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