Invasive spiders, flies, and bugs!

Joro Spiders, Spotted Lantern Flies, Stink Bugs. What do all of these animals have in common? They are all invasive species! An invasive species is an organism that is introduced to its nonnative environment and begins to spread or expand its range. Many invasive species can cause damage to their new environment, the economy, and to human health.

The Joro Spider is a relatively new invasive species that was first introduced to the United States around 2013 and is thought to have hitched a ride on shipping containers from its native Japan. Since that time, they have thrived in the climates of southern states like Georgia and South Carolina. Recent studies, though, have shown that they are resistant to colder temperatures and may soon venture north to states up and down the east coast. Thus far, these spiders show no indications of harming the environment or humans, so while they may look intimidating, they are not dangerous.

Another invasive species that is a relatively new introduction to the United States is the Spotted Lantern Fly. Contrary to the Joro Spider, this insect has been shown to cause significant damage to the environment and the economy. First found in Eastern Pennsylvania in 2014, the Spotted Lantern Fly has now been detected in 11 eastern states. Not only is this insect a nuisance, but it feeds on the saps of healthy plants and could significantly damage the agricultural production and economy of any area that it infests. The Spotted Lantern Fly is such a danger that Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture has enacted quarantine zones to try to stop the movement of the Spotted Lantern Fly and slow its spread. Sightings of the Spotted Lantern Fly (egg masses, nymphs, or adults) should be documented and reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

One invasive species that we Pennsylvanians have learned to live with (for better or worse) is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Thought to have been introduced in the mid-1990’s from east Asia, these insects are a serious pest of fruit, vegetables, and other crops. They are also a significant nuisance to humans, as they often arrive to our homes in great numbers in the fall to find a warm, protected place to overwinter. Then, as sunny winter days or spring-like temperatures arrive, they can often be found inside homes trying to make their way back outside.

If you have a problem with any of these invasive species or nuisance pests, you can contact Environmental Pest Management at 724-349-7900 or We can treat your Indiana County home for nuisance pests such as spiders and stink bugs, in addition to many others.

Sources: Penn State Extension ( and UGA Today (