There are thousands of insects present in our nature. Some are cute, some are scary, some are benign, and some of them are deadly. You may not feel that they are dangerous, but take our word for it, they are super deadly insects.
It is always good to know who is out there waiting to catch and kill us so that you can prepare yourself appropriately. Today, let us learn about 10 deadly insects that may not scare you, but they could easily kill you!
Note: We tend to use the word insects for almost every small and flying animal. But technically speaking, the animals that are of the class Insecta are only considered insects. So, we include only the animals which belong to the Insecta class.
Without any further ado, let us start our list of 10 deadly insects…
You can see ants anywhere and everywhere, but if you think you know them well, you are wrong because some are deadly insects. There are 22,000 species of ants in the entire world! Some of the species are benign and don’t hurt you. But few species of ants could kill you if they are in huge numbers. Fire ants, bullet ants, and driver ants are counted in the list of gruesome insects on our planet.
Fire ants live in colonies and form mounds in open fields. They mostly feed on seeds and plants. But they sometimes attack and kill small-sized animals. First, they bite to get a grip and then inject the toxin into the body. The venom includes oil alkaloids and toxic proteins.
The sting feels like being burned by fire. The area swells into a bump and causes further irritation and pain. Few people can develop an allergy to the venom and can even have anaphylactic shock, which can get fatal.
Bullet ants are native to the rainforests of Nicaragua to Paraguay. The sting feels like being shot by a bullet. The pain is considered as “walking over hot charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail implanted in your heel.” There are waves of burning and throbbing, and the pain lasts for 24 hours.
Brazil’s Satere-Mawe people use these ants in the warrior commencement ceremonies. 80 ants are woven into gloves made of leaves. The boys (who want to become a warrior) should wear those gloves, and they have to keep the gloves on for 5 minutes.
The hands of the boys are paralyzed temporarily due to venom. The boys should repeat this ritual for twenty times to be a warrior.
Driver ants are present in east and central Africa. They form colonies that may have as many as 20 million ants. Hell breaks loose when there is a food shortage. They would march and attack anything that comes in their way. The sting is pretty painful and leaves two wounds on your body. Removal of ants from the body is difficult because when you pull the ant, it gets divided into two parts – the jaws still attaching to your skin.
Imagine botflies come out of your body! The imagination is disgusting. For people who suffered from botflies coming out of their bodies, it was disgusting and painful.
Botflies are usually found in central and south America. Botflies’ larvae are internal parasites of mammals. Female botfly lay eggs within the skin. The eggs hatch on the skin thanks to the body heat that is emitted continuously. The larvae penetrate the skin and reach the subdermal zone of human skin. This parasite infestation is called “Myiasis.”
These deadly insects rest in the subdermal zone for around sixty days. The patients could feel the movement of these larvae under their skin. Once the larva’s development is complete, they come out of your body.
One or two botfly larvae may not ring an alarm, but they make severe skin tissue changes. Botflies are deadly to many animals like horses, apes, and cattle. They attack sensitive regions like the neck, where once all larvae are developed, the victim’s survival chances remain very less. In cattle, the lesions caused by botflies are infested by other bacteria. If not treated properly, the animal would die within months.
#3. Kissing Bug
The kissing bug is also called the vampire bug. It belongs to a subfamily, Triatominae. They are endemic to Central America and found in North America. They grow up by sucking the blood of the vertebrates. They are called kissing bugs because they bite human lips when they are sleeping.
They transmit the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. The parasite causes kissing bug disease or Chagas. They are present in 28 states out of 50 states of the USA. Chagas kills around 12,000 people every year.
When the female kissing bug bites, it causes rashes and welts almost immediately. However, after those rashes or welts, an infected person is mostly asymptomatic for around four to eight weeks. Even in the case of chronic cases, very few patients show symptoms.
However, 45% of them would develop heart disease after some 10 to 30 years of infection, which eventually can lead to heart failure. The method of spreading to humans and pets is the same.
Undoubtedly, a mosquito is one of the most deadly insects living on our planet. It is responsible for a million deaths from malaria alone. According to WHO, for every thirty seconds, a child succumbs to malaria. Every year, it is estimated that 500 million malaria cases are reported.
When a female mosquito sucks human blood, it inadvertently injects the parasite into a human’s body. Once the parasite enters the body, it multiplies and causes diseases. Other diseases caused by mosquitoes are Zika, lymphatic filariasis, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever.
Overall, mosquitoes are responsible for 700,000 deaths every year (covered by malaria mostly). A special organ called maxillary palp detects carbon dioxide released from the breaths, eventually guiding the mosquito to us. Mosquitoes consume more than three times their weight in blood.
It is observed that the deadly insects prefer people who drink beer. One of the reasons is that beer consumption produces ethanol, which turns the mosquitoes on. The alcohol also produces more body heat, which makes it easy for mosquitoes to find them. They also prefer people with O blood type. It is assumed that the mosquitoes like the smell of people with O blood type.
#5. Giant Japanese Hornet
The giant Japanese hornet is also called the Asian giant hornet. It is native to Asia. It is the largest hornet species in the world. It grows up to two inches.
The sting of Japanese hornet is the cause of 40 deaths a year. Its venom consists of chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. On top of it, the venom dissolves the tissues pretty quickly. If not treated properly and quickly, the venom can lead to paralysis, kidney failure, and slow, painful death.
Similar to ants, the hornet attacks in a group and stings repeatedly, injecting the venom continuously. Similar to mosquitoes, it prefers humans who sweat more, who drink alcohol, which smell sweet, or the ones who are running.
A single colony of giant Japanese hornets consists of around 700 members. Its major diet is honey bee larvae, and it can gulp down 40 honey bees in a single minute!
Also Read: 10 Poisonous Plants
#6. Monarch Caterpillar
Suppose you think all these mosquitoes, hornets, aka wasps, botflies give you a sign to stay away. In that case, our monarch caterpillar will be a stunner. Now, you have to run away from innocent-looking moths and butterflies too! Good luck with that.
It is one of the deadliest insects present in the United States of America. The monarch butterfly may look oh-so-beautiful with its orange and black coloring, but it is deadly. It feeds on milkweed, wanderer, common tiger, which are poisonous. Thanks to milkweed, every part of the monarch butterfly’s body are toxic – including the caterpillars.
The caterpillars are equally toxic. If anyone ends up eating the caterpillar or the butterfly, he/she will immediately get intoxicated. The toxins work on cardiac muscles (your heart muscles) and disrupt the heart’s normal contractions. Needless to say that these butterflies and their caterpillars are lethal to humans.
They are external parasites that feed on the blood of humans, birds, domestic and wild animals. Over 2,000 known species of fleas are seen all over the world. A flea is usually the size of the tip of a pen, and hence you may not even realize when one bites you.
However, it causes itching spots on the skin where it bit you, and the bite may leave red bumps on your skin. It reproduces quickly. A female flea gives birth to around 2000 baby fleas in her lifetime. A young flea can drink a volume of blood that is 15 times its body weight.
It commonly attacks places where our hands can’t reach easily or where we usually don’t focus on, like knees, elbows, and waist. Apart from the bites being itchy, they can cause infections, which may turn out to be lethal.
If you are still unsure, then here is a fact for you. Fleas and not the rats caused the Black Plague. The fleas lived on rats, and they spread the plague. The Black Death in Europe killed 25 million people! According to WHO, nearly 1000 to 2000 people still get plague – even in countries like the US. With killing around 25 million people, fleas have to be on the list of deadly insects.
#8. Tsetse fly
It is native to tropical parts of Africa. It is a big insect that is around 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters long. Its bite can cause African sleeping sickness. This disease does have a treatment, but it is extremely difficult. Each mediation should be taken with great care, not to upset the whole system altogether.
After being bitten by a tsetse fly, the victims experience confusion, numbness, poor coordination, and poor sleeping. The disease is fatal.
A few years earlier, around half a million Africans used to succumb to this disease every year! The focus now is on controlling the bugs because the treatment is difficult. Fortunately, the fatal cases decreased from half a million to 3500.
Cockroaches are disgusting. They are a harsh reality of our lives. They can live anywhere and in almost any condition. Can you believe they can survive for a week with their heads off?
A cockroach eats anything and everything that it can get its hands on – be it garbage, leftover food, and even human flesh. It bites feet, fingers, eyelashes, and hands, but it is very rare.
However, it is to be kept in mind that it spreads diseases by contaminating food and areas like the kitchen counter and not biting. It also causes allergic reactions in humans like asthma. 60% of the patients with asthma of Chicago are sensitive to cockroach allergens.
It may sometimes crawl into human ears and may cause pain and hearing loss. Some of the diseases caused by cockroaches are diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery.
#10. Killer Bee
It may not be surprising to see a bee on the deadly insects’ list. Bees are pretty territorial, and they can sacrifice their life to save their beehive and their queen. But they give a fight before they go down.
It is also known as Africanized honey bees. It is an extremely aggressive insect. A group of killer bees can follow the victim for over a mile. It attacks in a group and repeatedly stings. It mostly targets the face and eyes. The toxin by itself is not dangerous, but a group of bees have over 80,0000 members – you can do the math! Each bee stings 10 times more than other bees.
Once the beehive is disturbed, the bees stay alert for a day and attack any animal or human that enters their range.
Some geniuses have bred Africanized honey bees and American bees. The result is that American bees got aggressive and show similar characteristics. These bees are present in New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Florida, southern California, etc.
Killer bees can easily kill horses and are responsible for two to three human deaths worldwide.
Did you like our list on deadly insects? We hope you stay away from these insects if you encounter one. If you want us to write more on such topics, please comment below.
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