From bullet ants to mosquitos, here are 9 of the deadliest insects in the world! Those deeply afraid of creepy crawlies beware!
- Bullet Ant
Known as the World’s Most Painful Insect, getting bitten by a bullet ant is something you never want to experience. Native to the rainforests of Central and South America, the small but powerful bullet ant is also known as the hormiga veinticuatro meaning the “24-hour ant” which refers to the full day of pain that follows after being stung. Only a little over an inch in length, it is hard to believe that their sting can feel like getting shot with a bullet. Dr. Justin Schmidt, an entomologist and research director of the Southwest Biological Institute in Tucson Arizona, invented the Schmidt Sting Pain Index (SSPI) which categorizes the level of pain felt when stung by wasps, bees, and ants. He let himself get stung by all kinds of insects in order to rank their sting. He said that it really felt like getting hit by a bullet with waves of burning pain that were absolutely excruciating and went on for hours. The good thing is that it is a localized effect and this sting does not directly affect your heart or lungs, so you won’t die from it but it will hurt like a bi-atch. These ants are greatly feared across the rainforest by people and animals alike. However there are several indigenous tribes that use these ants in their initiation rituals. Young boys wishing to be seen as men by the tribes must endure placing their hand in a woven glove filled with these ants. They must endure getting stung repeatedly for at least ten minutes. If that wasn’t enough, the boy must sometimes go through over a dozen of these rituals! None of them suffer long term effects although the trauma may last forever.
- Japanese Giant Hornets
The highly aggressive and territorial Japanese giant hornets are infamous for their painful sting and fearsome nature. A subspecies of the Asian giant hornet, these monsters are much larger than normal hornets and are known to hunt and consume up to 50 unfortunate honey bees a day. As if honey bees didn’t already have enough problems… The creatures which are rapidly becoming a pest have now made nests in France and England and due to poor shipping practices, are spreading across the globe. Their venom is known to destroy red blood cells and those with allergic reactions are especially at risk of death. The Japanese giant hornets kill 30-40 people in Japan alone every year, and send hundreds to hospital. Its venom attacks the nervous system and damages the tissue of its victims. The stings can also cause renal failure. The giant hornets are attracted to human sweat, alcohol, and sweet flavors and smells. They are especially sensitive when animals or people run and they will start to swarm and attack. Some victims have required hundreds of stitches and numerous dialysis treatments to survive and are still are left with deep scars. These hornets have lead to government initiatives to destroy the nests in Japan and China, and maybe they have the right idea? These aggressive insects are pretty scary.
The hidden villain of the famous black death that ravaged Europe during the Middle Ages, the flea feeds on blood and can spread diseases to animals and humans. Capable of leaping 150 times their own height they can move from animal to animal to consume 15 times their own body weight every single day. The bubonic plague was spread by fleas carrying the disease on-board infected rats and some estimates say it wiped out close to 2/3rds of the population of Europe at the time. Though some might say that is was not the fleas but the infectious bacteria they carried which made it difficult for the creatures to feed. Therefore they would regurgitate infectious materials on the host. In fact, the disease still survives in many flea infested parts of the world, though it is much more easily treated today. Though the black plague changed the entire face of Medieval history, modern fleas can still infect humans with diseases such as typhus and are still common among the quickly breeding rat populations. Flea bites can cause disastrous allergic reactions on both pets and humans alike due to the saliva that they leave behind after the attack itself. In most cases the only real stress is avoiding the very itchy swollen bite marks and dealing with the infestation quickly as fleas can lay over 50 eggs in a single day!
- Tarantula Hawk Wasp
This insect is the only other bug to reach a 4 on the SSPI scale along with the bullet ant. The tarantula hawk is a solitary wasp that wanders around looking for tarantulas. The goal of the tarantula hawk’s sting is to get a predator such as a bird or a lizard to let it go. The pain from a tarantula hawk is like getting shocked with a high-voltage electric line in a wind storm. The super intense blast is meant to surprise and the pain only lasts for about 3 minutes. It might seem like longer if you are screaming in agony but after a few minutes, it is suddenly gone. However if you are a tarantula, this sting will not only shock but paralyze. The wasp will then lay a single egg inside the tarantula’s body. When the larvae hatches it will began feeding on the tarantula, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible so the tarantula stays alive. For the rest of us, tarantula hawk wasps rarely sting without provocation but geez, nature you scary!