DON’T PANIC: No, the giant, “flying” Joro spiders heading to NYC aren’t dangerous or deadly

A Joro Spider/Dave Coyle, PhD – Clemson University

By now, if you happen to inhabit any social media space, you may have seen a sensationalist headline declaring that “GIANT VENOMOUS FLYING SPIDERS ARE HEADING TO NY,” and perhaps (especially if you’re arachnophobic), you may have been sent into a panic.

But all of this buzz is simply poor journalism and sensationalism.

Earlier this year, several news sites began reporting that an invasive species of giant, colorful spiders from Asia called Joro, may finally arrive in the New York City metro area after having arrived in Georgia in 2013.

While the news reports have accurately described the spiders as venomous, according to experts, they are not considered to be harmful or a threat to humans or animals—unless you’re a bug that happens to land on their webs.

David Coyle, PhD at Clemson University, is a widely recognized expert on invasive species, including the Joro spider, and has publicly called out the fear-mongering by the media over this on X saying, “The amount of fear-mongering with this thing is outrageous.”

According to an article published on WebMD that was medically reviewed by a physician, “…Joro spiders present little threat to humans and pets…The spider also has small fangs that don’t easily pierce human skin. In the unlikely event that a Joro spider bites you, the bite will feel like a bee sting and may cause temporary redness.”

The article goes on to further state that while the spider is venomous, it’s not harmful to humans and will only affect insects.

It’s also worth mentioning that the spiders don’t actually “fly” like birds do but instead use their silk to be carried by the wind in order to travel by air.

Now that you know the actual facts, you don’t have to worry about these spiders that actually eat another invasive species that have taken over NYC: The spotted lanternfly.

Maybe with their arrival we’ll finally get the spotted lanternfly situation under some control.

In the meantime, the mainstream media needs to do better than post click-bait headlines and have some sort of journalistic integrity and not bury the lede.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.