Could giant flying, venomous spiders creep into the DMV? Here's what we know about the Joro

Will the giant Joro spider - a venomous arachnid originally from Asia that can glide through the air – make its way to the Washington, D.C. region this summer?

It's quite possible, says University of Maryland Entomology Professor Emeritus Michael Raupp, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if it does.

The University’s "bug guy" says the Joro was spotted in parts of Maryland’s Anne Arundel County and Howard County in 2023. He says we shouldn’t be shocked if it shows up there again this year.

The Joro could, in fact, spread to much of the East Coast.  A 2022 study from the University of Georgia suggests that the Joro could spread north and east across the Eastern seaboard, according to a report by the Associated Press.

It’s not clear when the spider first arrived in the United States, but they were abundant in Georgia in 2021 and were expected to spread throughout the southeast.

The spider with its legs fully extended can be as big as a human hand, Raupp said. Flying, or parachuting, is a unique trait for the Joro, as well as their yellow and black coloring, making them easy to spot.

The webs can be almost three feet in diameter. Raupp says reports say the fangs of the spider are small and that it’s a non-aggressive arachnid. He said the venom should not be a concern for humans.

Black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 05, 2022. (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Raupp called the spider "beautiful" and "spectacular" and said that the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia might even benefit from the presence of the Joro because they eat insects like stinkbugs and the spotted lanternfly.

Raupp said wind currents might be responsible for moving the spiders hundreds of away as they spread across the DMV.