When it comes to the insect world, humans are vastly outnumbered. There are approximately 1.5 billion bugs for every human on planet Earth.
While this figure might give you the creepy crawlies, it is nothing to be afraid of. The majority of bugs are relatively harmless to humans.
Fear of spiders is one of the oldest phobias known to man. While many spiders are perfectly harmless, not all insects are created equal. Some spiders aren’t the itsy, bitsy nursery rhyme types, and there are certain ants that you don’t want to come marching in one by one – or at all.
These creepy crawlers are more than just frightening – they are downright deadly. This is no little bee sting or a harmless bite. An encounter with one of these terrible ten is more like being in the presence of a ticking time bomb. If one of these creatures crosses your path, there is no shame in running. It just might save your life.
10 African Assassin Bug
Any bug with “assassin” in its name should raise some immediate red flags. The venom of the African Assassin Bug is ten times deadlier than a cobra’s. These bugs may be small, but they have a big bite.
While their bodies may look beautiful with their bright yellow accents on their legs, it’s best to keep your distance.
Even the professionals have run into troubles with these bugs that can bring down prey hundreds of times larger than them. A California zookeeper almost died while cleaning out a tank of these serial killers.
9 Japanese Hornet
Stumbling upon a hornet’s nest is bound to stir up angry insects. Stumbling upon a Japanese hornet’s nest is more like being stoned. The sting of these Japanese insects claims the lives of approximately 40 humans each year. Their venom results in more deaths than bears and venomous snakes combined, and they are considered Japan’s deadliest animal.
Unlike other similarly striped pests, the Japanese hornet can strike repeatedly. The creature is relentless, going after any and all prey, including other predatory insects like the Preying Mantis.
However, when they are out for a kill, they can also use their powerful, sharp jaws to tear a victim to pieces. The pieces are then carried back to the nest, where they are chewed soft and fed to larvae.
The Japanese have nicknamed them the “tiger hornet.” It’s best to avoid the eye of this tiger!
8 Siafu Ant
What the Venus Fly Trap is to flies, the Siafu ant is to humans. This is the only insect known to actually attack human flesh and devour it. These ants have strong jaws and can use venom to subdue their prey.
However, their strength lies in numbers. More than one sleeping person, drunk and tourist has been killed by these tiny beasts. However, it is likely that their deaths were due not to the venom, but to the asphyxiation of the ant armies marching into their lungs or other organs.
An ant by any other name is still just as deadly. This ant is also known as an army driver or safari ant, and they can be found in Africa. Scientists claim that even wild animals like elephants avoid Siafu ant armies – and for good reasons.
7 Black Widow Spider
Even though this spider’s venom is approximately 15 times more poisonous than one of a rattlesnake, this spider’s bite doesn’t result in as many fatalities as you might think.
They don’t play fair when it comes to love. The animals are notorious for killing and eating their mates. It is usually the female, who kills and devours the male, giving them the name “black widow.”
In humans, a bite can cause nausea, muscle aches and breathing difficulties because the diaphragm becomes paralyzed. Nevertheless, it is usually only in small children, the ill and the elderly that the spider is deadly.
Time is of the essence. The infamous hourglass shape on this spider’s abdomen serves as a reminder to call for help immediately if you or someone you know is bitten.
6 Puss Caterpillar
Children’s books like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” have convinced us that caterpillars are cute little creatures waiting to become butterflies. But don’t let their fuzzy looks deceive you.
It may look like a Chia pet, but it is more like a porcupine when you touch it. Resist the urge to pet the little furry thing. It hides venomous bristles under its head of blonde “hair.” Even just touching a molted skin of this wooly slug is enough to cause a serious skin reaction.
The puss caterpillar is the United States’ most poisonous caterpillar, causing nausea, drops in blood pressure, rashes, vomiting, fever and a host of other symptoms. They live in trees and are most prevalent in the fall. They are definitely not a creature you want to encounter on a walk through the woods.
5 Brazilian Wandering Spider
The Brazilian Wandering Spider has been named the most deadly spider by the Guinness Book of World Records on multiple occasions. This spider belongs to the genus Phoneutria, which literally means “murderess.”
This arachnid is homeless and homicidal. It doesn’t make webs. Instead, it wanders, stalking and killing its prey, in the process.
It only bites humans in self-defense, but if you are bitten by one of these hairy, eight-legged insects in Brazil or another Latin American country, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms appear within 30 minutes and can be deadly if not treated with anti-venom.
4 Asian Giant Hornet
These bee-like creatures are indeed the giants of the hornet world, measuring about two inches long and having a wingspan of about three inches.
In the fall of 2013, they made headlines when they caused the death of 41 people in China and injured more than 1,600.
The pest is deadliest during its fall mating season and is known to be aggressive and predatory.
In the case of the Chinese outbreak, firefighters took to the streets to try to find and remove the nests, and specialty medical teams were brought in to handle the hospitals flooded with casualties.
3 Bullet Ant
These insects don’t just sting – they shoot. The world’s most painful insect sting belongs to this ant. Just one bite from one ant is said to bring about intense pain for the next 12 to 24 hours.
Entomologist Dr. Justin Schmidt had this to say about his encounter with the vicious ant: “Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel.”
And this is coming from a man who has been stung by more than 150 different species – some even intentionally – and created his own self-named pain index to rate insect stings.
If you don’t want to walk over flaming coals – or to feel as though you really have taken the bullet – don’t book your next vacation in the South American rainforest.
2 Tsetse Fly
The Tsetse fly is the deadliest bite on the African continent. These flies carry a deadly parasite that affects an estimated 3 million animals each year. It affects millions of people in Africa as well.
In humans, the parasite induces a sleeping sickness but can also be fatal if left untreated. Infected humans often have slurred speech, personality changes, sleep disturbances, seizures and trouble walking.
Although the flies are small and carry a microscopic parasite, it only takes one to become infected. There is currently no vaccination, as the tsetse fly’s parasite doesn’t travel through the immune system. This is one Tsetse, you don’t want to see.
1 Sydney Funnel Web Spider
This spider is unique in that it has a venom that is only poisonous to primates. If you are making a trip down under, you definitely want to avoid this spider found only in the city of Sydney.
Its venom called Antracotoxin causes the air sacs in the lungs to burst by overloading the nervous system (rather than shutting it down like most neurotoxins). Basically, this venom causes you to drown on dry land.
Fortunately, there is an effective anti-venom, and Australia reports that there haven’t been any funnel web spider-related deaths for the past 30 years. Don’t delay if you get bitten though. It is estimated that you’ll be dead in 15 minutes if you don’t seek treatment.