Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the source of the photo.
The Joro spider, a colorful arachnid that can grow as big as the palm of your hand, has rapidly spread across the southeast and could be invading the east coast very soon.
Experts don't yet know if or when the spider will come to Indiana. But because the Joro spider's fangs can't bite people or poison pets or large animals, it won't be a huge concern.
Timothy Gibb, an entomologist at Purdue University, said the Joro spider's presence won't be "terribly remarkable," but there's another creepy crawly that gives him pause: the Asian needle ant, which was recently discovered in Southern Indiana.
While the ant has traveled southern states like Florida and Georgia for several years, it was discovered just last week in the Evansville area — the furthest north the Asian needle ant has ventured, Gibb said.
It's the first ant in Indiana that has a stinger and venom sac, Gibb said. For many years, experts have assured Hoosiers there aren't any ants with stingers in the area, but that's not the case anymore.
"Other ants will bite," he said, "but this is really new."
The Asian needle ant, Brachyponera chinensis, is very similar in appearance to another invasive species of ant in Indiana, the Argentine ant. But don't let it fool you.
In addition to their stingers, the needle ant can infest homes as well as woodland and outdoor areas, putting them "in close proximity with people," Gibb said. This poses a difference from fire ants, which prefer to reside outside, and increases the ant's ability to survive in cold temperatures.
"Because it does get inside homes, it's somewhat protected from the temperature extremes that ... sometimes limit it," Gibb said, "and it also increases the probability of it moving with people, hitchhiking."
To most, stings from the Asian needle ant will not be harmful, just painful. However, people who are hyper-allergic to stings from insects like bees or wasps should be prepared with treatment such as an EpiPen.
Gibb said that while he hopes people aren't in a state of panic, they should be aware of the dangers that this ant can pose.
"It can be lethal," Gibb said. "In most cases, it's just going to hurt like crazy."
Contact IndyStar trending reporter Claire Rafford at email@example.com or on Twitter @clairerafford.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Asian needle ant stings are painful, in rare cases lethal