We are not fans of insects. We’re the kind of people that duck for cover when we spot a moth circling a light fixture. Being outside is risky because it means more potential bug attacks. When we spot a bug inside the house? That’s even worse. We quarantine the room and contemplate moving. We just don’t like creepy crawlies. They’re gross and some of them are dangerous enough to kill us. It only seems logical that we shInseould avoid them all. Even butterflies are creepy. Have you ever seen one up close? It’s not a pretty sight. Some companies want to start feeding us bugs. They’re full of protein! Except, we could care less. We’d like to stay far away from all insects at all times.
Ticks are first on this list because they’re very common in North America. It used to be that you had to be stomping around in tall grass or trekking in heavily forested areas to encounter a tick. But now, they’re more prevalent than ever. The danger with ticks is two-fold. First, they are often carriers of diseases. Some tick-borne diseases can cause serious symptoms and in rare cases can cause death. Second, ticks are sometimes tough to spot. You might not know you’ve even been bitten until a while after the initial encounter. It makes tick-borne diseases tough to diagnose since sometimes people don’t even know they’ve been in close proximity with these little critters.
14. Bullet Ant
Bullet ants don’t get their name from their body shape. The name comes from the fact that a bite from this ant is as painful as getting shot. This insect delivers one of the most painful bites in the insect world. You’ll find it in the rainforests of South America. Many of those who have been bitten by these ants have described the pain as similar to that of being shot. It’s an intense pain that can last a whole day. These ants are not necessarily deadly, though. But we bet being stung by many of these could cause some kind of severe reaction in some people. Thankfully, it seems the bites don’t really cause bad reactions for the most part. You’ll only feel like you’re dying!
Wait, fleas are dangerous? But we hear about dogs and cats getting them all the time! Well, yeah, they can carry really serious diseases. In fact, back in the day, fleas were carriers of the Black Death, a plague that wiped out a huge chunk of the world’s population. Fleas can also carry other diseases such as typhus and tungiasis. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms. The tiny little parasites feed off host blood and that’s where the transmission of disease occurs. Thankfully, there are a lot of very effective flea treatments for pets. We bet your starting to feel itchy now, though.
12. Puss Caterpillar
Caterpillars are cute! They’re colorful and chubby, and sometimes fuzzy. The puss caterpillar is a bit different. First of all, it has a really unfortunate name. It’s actually named after the common ‘pussy cat’ because it’s covered in what looks like hair. But that’s really not the first thing we thought of. We were thinking of oozing puss. The furry critters also happen to be one of the most poisonous insect species. All that ‘hair’ actually hides little prickly pin-like needles that carry very toxic venom. It delivers one of the most painful stings in the world. They look soft and fuzzy but refrain from trying to pet them, or else.
11. Tsetse Fly
The tsetse fly looks a lot like a regular housefly you might encounter buzzing around your trash bin. It’s not poisonous and doesn’t sting, but it is responsible for transmitting a pretty horrible disease called Sleeping Sickness. The disease largely affects poor rural communities in many parts of Africa which means that those affected often have trouble getting treatment. Without treatment, Sleeping Sickness often results in death. It’s a horrible disease that causes many serious symptoms including seizures and sensory issues. The parasite that’s transmitted via the fly can also cause psychiatric symptoms. Treatment is risky because the drugs available are extremely potent and have many side effects.
Ugh. Mosquitoes, the bane of our existence. Trying to enjoy a nice summer evening on the back porch? Better get out the citronella candles but you should still expect a few itchy bites anyhow. Mosquitoes are another kind of insect that won’t directly kill you, instead they carry serious diseases that can cause death. Most notably, they are carriers of malaria. Serious cases of the disease can cause respiratory problems, blood pressure issues, kidney failure, and neurological symptoms. Mosquitos can also transmit a host of other serious diseases including Dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. Better stock up on bug spray if you’re travelling to a country where these diseases are common.
9. Arizona Bark Scorpion
Scorpions look horrifying and we’re fine with staying far, far away from them. The Arizona bark scorpion is definitely a type of scorpion you want to avoid. These little critters are quick and although they’re not the biggest of their species, they are quite poisonous. They’re also known for hiding in small nooks and crannies, even inside your house (if you live in the Southern U.S.). Older folks and small children are most at risk when it comes to the bite of the AZ bark scorpion because they have weaker immune systems. Treatments exist for the bite of this creepy crawly but deaths have still occurred.
8. Fire Ant
No, these little guys don’t set fire everywhere they go but it sure feels like it. These little red ants are not timid creatures and will aggressively protect their nests. They are also omnivores, so they will happily eat veg or meat. They’re not endemic to the Southern U.S. but they have become a problem there regardless. They latch onto their victim and inject powerful venom. Fire ant stings are very painful. If you’ve ever been stung, you’ll know that the pain radiates and can cause severe discomfort. For such a small critter, the sting is extremely powerful. For some, the sting can be fatal, especially if encountering a nest of these evil little insects.
7. Black Spitting Thick Tail Scorpion
These guys are VERY poisonous. They’re also not very shy. If they feel threatened, they’re not just going to run away. And yes, they’re venom can kill you dead. They also happen to be much larger than other species of scorpions which makes them even more terrifying. Their venom can cause paralysis and stop a person’s breathing, leading to death. They can be found in many parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It’s illegal to own one of these because it’s so dangerous. Honestly, we can’t imagine why someone would want to play Russian roulette when feeding one of these every day. Big nope from us.
6. Siafu Ant
Who knew ants were so horrible? These guys, also known as driver ants, are endemic to Africa and technically they could eat all of the tissue off your body in close to four hours. Basically, these are some insects you don’t want to mess with. They’re much larger than ants you might encounter outside when gardening. They have big heads with very large chompers. All the better to eat you with! If you get bitten by one, it’s extremely hard to pull it off because its grip is so strong. We now have a whole other view of ants. Hard workers and scary as hell.
5. Giant Japanese Hornet
Generally, any bug that has ‘giant’ in its name is a no from us. The Giant Japanese Hornet has been known to reach the size of a small bird. That’s REALLY BIG for a bug. But their size isn’t the scariest thing about them. They’re also very poisonous. Imagine a scary looking bird that could also sting the crap out of you. These insects can inject venom that actually melts human skin. Ouch! When stung by the Giant Japanese Hornet, many people have serious allergic reactions that end up being fatal. The sting from this insect also happens to be very painful.
4. Brazilian Wandering Spider
Okay so a spider isn’t technically an insect but whatever. We included it on this list because most people hear the word ‘insect’ and think ‘bug’. And this spider is definitely one that could kill you. Their genus name ‘Phoneutria’ is the Greek word for ‘murderess’. They’re one of the most poisonous spiders in the world and has even nabbed a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Thankfully, they’re not super aggressive and will only really bite if they feel threatened in some way. In some male victims, the venom can actually cause a painful sustained erection. Yikes!
3. Africanized Honey Bee
The Africanized Honey Bee has also been nicknamed the Killer Bee. This particular bee species comes from Africa. It’s not more poisonous and doesn’t deliver a more painful sting, though. The difference is in its behaviour. These bees tend to be extremely aggressive and do not relent when pursuing a potential threat. Bees are only deadly because their stings can cause serious anaphylactic shock in some people. Africanized honey bees are therefore more dangerous because they often sting without much prompting. They won’t just sting you for no reason, though. But if they think you’re a threat because you’ve been poking around their hive, they will hunt you down.
2. German Yellow Jacket
Similar to Africanized Honey Bees, the German Yellow Jacket is dangerous because it delivers a painful sting and that sting can cause serious allergic reactions. Like the previously mentioned African Honey Bees, these insects are also very aggressive. If their nest is bothered, they will attack with impunity. They also tend to follow escaping intruders for a long while so if you are chased by one of these you’d better find shelter or be a well-trained runner. If there’s a nest in your house or near it, don’t try to remove it yourself. Call an expert to avoid the risk of painful and potentially dangerous stings.
1. Black Widow Spider
Yes, we know. Spiders are not insects. But we couldn’t resist including the infamous black widow spider on this list. These creepy crawlies are known for being very poisonous and you can identify them by their red marked backs. Bites from a black widow can cause serious symptoms. In an immuno-compromised individual a bite can most definitely lead to death. Those in poor health are much more at risk than others when faced with a bite from this venomous spider. Thankfully, unlike German yellow jackets or Africanized bees, the black widow spider won’t bite unless provoked. They’re not very aggressive at all.
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