Some individuals are fascinated with bugs, however, most of us try to avoid them when necessary, as we should. Of the millions of insect species in existence, we are better off not to trifle with them. They play an important role in the balance of nature, but they can also pack a powerful punch when provoked.
Whether you stumble across them by accident or provoke them from curiosity, there are some insects that can cause us harm. From deer ticks to the centipedes, here is a compiled list featuring many of the most dangerous insects you should try to avoid.
1. Deer Ticks
How can such a tiny thing cause so much damage? Every year, thousands of hikers and nature lovers are infected with Lyme Disease from a tick bite. Although Lyme disease is not typically fatal, it can be debilitating. An early sign of Lyme disease may include a rash that looks like a bull's eye. Individuals may also experience a headache and fever. To be on the safe side, anyone that has been outdoors in a wooded area should always check for ticks.
2. Black Widow Spider
Who hasn't heard of the deadly Black Widow? It is generally the first insect named when a conversation turns to talk of deadly spiders. This spider is easily identifiable and is recognized by its black body with a red hourglass marking on the body. They are often found is dark quiet places, such as under a porch, crawlspaces, sheds, and in basements.
Should a black widow bite you, expect symptoms such as nausea, headache, fever, excessive sweating, and an increase in blood pressure. The bite releases a neurotoxin and you should seek immediate medical attention.
3. Red Widow Spider
Just as creepy as the black widow, the lesser known red widow spider is just as dangerous. This spider is primarily found in Florida, although it can be found in other Southern states. It has a red head and legs and its body is black with red spots. It can be found in dry, quiet spots similar to the black widow spider. Do not provoke this insect. The venom from a bite of a red widow spider can cause permanent muscle spasms if treatment is not sought immediately.
4. Puss Caterpillars
Do not be deceived by these tiny, hairy creatures. This furry insect is better known as a southern flannel moth. The nickname is probably due to its resemblance to a cat. Their furry exterior hides spikes. These spikes can cause severe reactions upon skin contact. If you encounter one of these caterpillars, you may experience nausea, tingling in extremities and numbness, blisters, pain in the chest, swelling, a burning sensation, headaches, and difficulty breathing.
Although there is no cure for the affliction caused from contact with the puss caterpillar, many home remedies can help with the relief of symptoms.
5. Bullet Ants
Let be honest, very few of us would choose to encounter (let alone provoke) an insect with the name bullet ant.
For those that are unlucky and are the recipients of a bullet ant's bite, they may experience extreme pain. Many have likened the pain to to that of a gunshot, hence the insect's nickname. The bullet ant's bite does contain a venom with a neurotoxin. Like most venomous insects, immediate medical attention should be sought out.
While a sting from the bullet ant won't do any permanent damage, the pain is described as excruciating and can last anywhere from three to five hours. In addition to the extreme pain, symptoms include sweating, tremors, nausea, and vomiting.
6. Africanized Honey Bees
With an exotic sounding name, these honey bees are far from sweet.
A subspecies of the well-known Western honey bee, the African honey bee is more commonly referred to as the "killer bee." It gets its nickname from their capacity to attack and potentially even kill humans when threatened.
Africanized honey bees are known for being the most defensive type of bee. This species of bee will swarm, invade, and take over other honey bee hives. When under attack, the Africanized honey bees will attack in large numbers. There have been reported incidents of Africanized honey bees that have pursued humans for more than a quarter of a mile. Your best bet it to avoid them at all costs.
7. Fire Ants
Anyone that has encountered these insects will never forget their experience. Rightly named, fire ants are known for the pain that follows their painful bite. Found primarily in the Southern states of the U.S., they can be identified by their dark red color.
When threatened, fire ants will bite their target and spray a formic acid onto their attacker. The combination of the bite and acid causes pain, irritation, and can even cause death in extreme cases. Fire ants will attack in a group, so it is common for a person to receive multiple bites from an encounter. Individuals that are highly allergic to insect stings could experience a severe reaction and even die without quick medial attention.
8. Brown Recluse Spiders
This spider is another easily recognizable spider that can cause a lot of problems. In the United States, the brown recluse spider is mainly found in the Southeast and the Midwest. It is dark brown in color and has a violin shaped spot located in the center of its back. Like many other spiders, the brown recluse spider can be found in quiet and warm areas such as basements, sheds, and woodpiles.
Unlike the black widow, the brown recluse does not release a venom. However, its bite can cause other damage. The bite from a brown recluse can cause tissue damage that can take months to heal. If bitten, you should seek immediate medical attention.
9. Arizona Bark Scorpions
Found in the deserts of Arizona, California, and Northwestern Mexico, the Arizona bark scorpion is one of the deadliest scorpions in North America. They are the most venomous of scorpions and a bite to an adult can cause side effects that can last for up to three days. Adults that have been stung may experience pain, numbness, swelling, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Some adults have even experienced electrical sensations in the area affected. Paralysis and seizures can occur in children, so if they get stung they will need immediate medical attention.
10. Red Harvester Ants
Sometimes confused with fire ants, the red harvester ant is primarily located in the Southwestern United States. These ants are very aggressive and their bite can pack a powerful punch. If they feel threatened, they will attack and bite their victim. Individuals that have been bitten will experience a painful sting and may also experience an allergic reaction. The bite areas can resemble a bee sting and can last for many days. Individuals that are sensitive to stings and insect bites should seek medical attention.
11. Paper Wasp
Paper wasps gather the materials for their hive from dead wood and plants. Their name comes from how their nests resemble paper. Paper wasps are brown and yellow or yellow and black and are often confused with yellow jackets. They are not aggressive unless threatened, but they will defend their nest. Like any insect sting, it will hurt and will most likely result in an allergic reaction.
12. Sac Spider
Light in color, sac spiders are usually a light yellow or brown. They look innocent enough, but they are natural wanderers. They may wander across the arm or leg of a human that is at rest in a chair or laying on a couch. Because of their wandering nature, they account for more spider bites than any other type of spider. Their bite forms a hard, red bump that resembles a pimple with a white center. Although their bite is typically not life-threatening, their bite is painful and can cause irritation that lasts for a few days.
13. Wheel Bug
To be honest, this bug is really ugly and really scary looking. It is one of the largest bugs in the United States and has been labeled an assassin bug, meaning they are aggressive with their prey. Luckily, humans are not their prey. Wheel bugs usually only attack other large bugs, but if they are poked or prodded by a human, they may retaliate. They will bite and the bite is painful. Although the bite is not life-threatening, people that have experienced a wheel bug bite have described the pain as worse than a bee sting. It is best just to leave the bugs alone.
14. Tarantula Hawks
As far as wasps go, this type of wasp is actually pretty. They usually have a dark brown or black body and bright red wings. This wasp is called a tarantula wasp because it actually hunts tarantulas. So, if they hunt spiders, you can bet they are venomous. A sting from one of these insects can make a grown man cry. That's right, people that have been stung by a tarantula wasp have described the pain as excruciating, electrifying, and debilitating. Their venom is not strong enough to paralyze a human, but immediate medical attention should be sought.
If you were thinking about locations where you might find a horsefly, chances are you were thinking correctly. They are typically found in areas with lots of animals, such as farms or animal parks. Female horseflies bite animals to gather blood. When they bite, it hurts because they are actually taking a piece of skin with their bite. If you should get a horsefly bite, it will sting and can get infected. The good news is they prefer sunny areas to fly and they avoid shady areas. I recommend a nice shady spot with a light breeze when trying to avoid a horsefly.
Although termites are known for their infestations and destroying homes, they can also attack and bite. Their preference is to eat decaying materials, such as wood, but if they feel threatened, the soldier termites may come after you. It is very uncommon for termites to leave their tunnels and the dark, but they can bite humans and pets. Should you get bit by a termite, it should be no worse than a mosquito bite. You may experience skin irritation, but nothing major.
17. Velvet Ant Wasp
The velvet ant wasp is kind of pretty in a creepy insect sort of way. They resemble fuzzy ants and can be found in a variety of colors, mainly red and orange. Sometimes referred to as Cow Killer Ants, they are actually wasps. Only the female velvet ant wasps have stingers and their sting is very powerful. Although described as an extremely painful sting, the toxicity of their sting is lower than that of a honey bee. They are not an aggressive insect and only attack when threatened.
18. Wolf Spider
Like a wolf, these spiders look intimidating. They are typically light brown in color and can be found throughout the world in multiple climates. They usually keep to themselves and only bite when provoked. They do inject venom with their bite, however, it is not deadly. People that are allergic to insect bites and stings should contact a medical provider for advice, but most will experience irritation, slight pain, and some swelling in the affected area.
I have a love-hate relationship with these insects. I love the noisy din that they make, but they are ugly and creep me out. They are basically a short-horned grasshopper and they stay together in swarms. They have contributed to famines and have been linked to plagues of the past. They are mainly interested in eating plants, so it is unlikely and uncommon for them to bite. If they are provoked, they may bite in defense. This would be no worse than a mosquito bite, though.
20. German Yellow Jacket
Also known as the German wasp, the German yellow jacket is typically yellow and black and can be found in parts of Europe and Asia, although they have been found in almost every continent. Their nests resemble gray paper and they are often confused with paper wasps. These insects like to build their nests in very inconvenient places, such as on porches or in attics. They can be aggressive and if they feel threatened, they will sting multiple times. They are attracted to sweets, so eat your dessert inside to avoid trouble. Their stings are painful and cause pain and irritation. Those allergic to stings should seek medical help.
21. Moth Caterpillars
Have you ever seen a fuzzy-looking cactus and touched it to see if it was sharp? Yeah, it was sharp. The same concept goes for most fuzzy caterpillars. Look but don't touch!
Moth caterpillars have many hairs that appear to be soft to the touch. However, these hairs are anything but soft and fluffy. The hairs are actually poisonous hairs that when touched will cause an allergic reaction similar to that of poison ivy. The chances of seeing, let alone touching, one of these caterpillars is low, however, encounters can happen. Persons that have accidentally touched or brushed against a moth caterpillar should treat the affected area like a bee sting.
I think it is all the legs that creep me out. I have never liked the look of a caterpillar. So, should you decide to pick one up or touch one, just know that you might be getting more than you bargained for.
They are not aggressive and they don't bite, so they are typically tame and not much to worry about. However, if they are aggravated and don't feel like being handled, they can pinch you. Similar to a bee sting, you may feel pain or a burning sensation in the pinched area and there may be swelling.
Mosquitoes are almost everywhere in the world. If you are in the presence of warm weather during any part of the year, not to menton humidity, then you have definitely had an encounter with mosquitoes. However, they are not just annoying - they can also be very dangerous.
Mosquito-born illnesses are a result of thousands of deaths around the world. And it isn't just human beings who are in danger, animals are in serious danger as well. Mosquitoes can carry Malaria, heartworms, and numerous types of encephalitis.
24. Oriental Rat Fleas
You wouldn't really expect fleas to be a particular problem for humans, but they most certainly are. Especially when it comes to oriental rat fleas, who, by the way, were responsible for the massive plague in the Middle Ages.
Although the rats were mostly blamed for the plague, it was actually the fleas that the rats were carrying which destroyed almost half of the world's population. Although you will not hear about a plague today, these fleas still exist in parts of the USA and Asia. If you stay away from the rat, you should be safe enough to stay away from the plague flea as well.
Here's another super gross city friend that you will encounter pretty much everywhere in the world. Cockroaches are ridiculously strong when it comes to surviving disasters and even insecticides. In fact, they are one of the fastest insects to adapt to an insecticide, meaning that new ones need to be invented all the time.
Most people think that they don't have to worry so much about cockroaches as long as they regularly keep their home clean and throw the food out, but sadly this is not the case. These bugs are also known to bite and to feed on dead human skin cells.
Flies are also a type of bug that can regularly be found around the house. Usually, they are not an item for concern as much, but when it comes to Botflies, the situation is very different.
They are very smart when it comes to reproducing because they lay their eggs on mosquitoes. And since mosquitoes always look for humans as their next source of food, the eggs of a Botfly are likely to end up in your house. The larva of these flies enter a host's skin and become parasites.
27. Kissing Bugs
It's difficult to identify all the different kinds of bugs that are out there in nature and how they may affect us negatively. The kissing bugs are no difference, because it is difficult to tell them apart from any other general bug.
They have especially become a problem in Texas, because they have brought a dangerous parasite with them. About 50% of these bugs are expected to have the dangerous parasite, which is responsible for the Chagas disease.
28. Browntail Moth Caterpillars
Another problem for citizens of the USA is the browntail moth caterpillar. Caterpillars on their own don't look too dangerous or problematic, especially because they are quite slow in their movement and they cannot fly. However, as cute as this caterpillar may look, you really don't want to touch it.
In fact, the tiny little hairs that cover this caterpillar are extremely poisonous. If you were to touch any of the hairs, your skin would instantly absorb the poison and cause massive problems for your body. However, these hairs can also fall off of the caterpillar and accidentally be picked up by your body.
29. Asian Giant Hornets
Asia is known for their giant bugs, much of it has to do with the humidity of the place. The Asian giant hornets are one of the most terrifying bugs to dominate the countries in Asia. In fact, this is the largest and deadliest hornet in the entire world.
Unfortunately, it was recently found in Illinois and Virginia. This is a problem because a sting from this bug could shut down a human's kidneys in a matter of minutes. If you ever notice a hornet nest anywhere in your area, the best thing to do is to contact local pest control.
30. Hobo Spiders
The hobo spider got its name from the railways across the United States. For people who are not experts on spiders, they are not that easy to differentiate from any other regular spider. However, they are certainly a lot more dangerous from any other regular spider in United States.
They are not know to attack people often, but if they do, they will immediately cause a lot of problems. This species of spiders will only attack if it feels threatened, but if you do get bitten, you will likely experience long-term bone pain and headaches.
Chiggers are the tiny, larvae of trombiculid mites. Larvae are found everywhere around us, and we don't usually pay a lot of attention to them on our day to day basis. In fact, there are many species of larvae which cannot be seen by the naked eye - and this larvae is one of them.
The problems here happen because chiggers feed on human skin cells as a source of food. Because of this, they leave behind tiny pumps on human skins which are super itchy.
32. Asian Lady Beetles
What started out as a good idea, quickly turned into a very bad situation. In the case of Asian lady beetles, they did not accidentally come to the United States. In fact, they were brought in under a plan in order to help reduce aphid populations.
Unfortunately, what people at the time didn't realize is that the Asian lady beetle is not only a threat to vegetation, but also to people. These beetles are happy to bite humans and they will defend their territory viciously.
33. Giant Resin Bees
It's always bad when an insect is dangerous, but it seems to be even worse when the insect is so much bigger than what you would expect it to be. This is also true for the giant Resin bees. Like most bees, they tend to mind their own business.
However, as with any other insect, if you happen to be the unfortunate one who provokes it, you will likely be bitten. Although this bee is indeed more dangerous than the average bee, it is even more dangerous for people who are already allergic to bees.
Sandflies are a little weird when it comes to the fly species. This is because they look like mosquitoes a little bit, both visually in general, and also because they have the same mouth part that mosquitoes have.
Likewise, sandflies also feed on human blood and are also dangerous because they can leave many different illnesses including typhus and some forms of the plague. Like mosquitoes, the best way to stay away from sandflies is to treat them the same way that you would treat mosquitoes.
35. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are tiny, so tiny that they cannot be seen by the human eye. What's worse is that they are in the place where we want to relax the most and enjoy our free time to sleep. When bed bugs infest a bed, they will not be leaving it any time soon.
The biggest problem with these little bugs is that they love to feed on human skin, which means that they will leave whoever is sleeping in the bed with tiny bug bites which can be very itchy. Sometimes, the only way to get rid of them is to throw out the furniture.
36. Saddleback Caterpillars
This is another reason why you should never approach a caterpillar even if you think that they are super cute. They are mostly found in the eastern part of the United States, and are extremely dangerous and not something that you would ever want to touch or come close to.
They don't attack unless they feel threatened, but if they do feel threatened, they will stab the victim with their poisonous needles. The sting is very painful for humans (although not deadly) and will leave the victim with blisters.
37. Maricopa Harvester Ants
It's always difficult when something as small as an ant is causing problems for everyone around it. The Maricopa harvester ants are also found in the United States, and unfortunately, they are very difficult to spot unless you know what you're looking for.
This species of ants holds one of the most toxic venoms of any ant, which can kill very small prey. When it comes to humans, a single sting by this ant would be painful but would not kill the human. However, if the person were to end up in the middle of a large colony of these ants then it would be a lot more dangerous.